“I’ll NEVER have a total loss!” Have you ever said this, either to yourself or during conversation? Do you really believe it? Think back, I’m sure you know some who has had suffered a total loss, and I’m not saying just in the pawn industry. What makes you different? Take a step back and think about what’s really at stake beyond everything you’ve worked so hard to build. Recovering from a major disaster affects more than your bottom line, it carries out into your personal life as well.
All too often we think that catastrophes will never visit our doorstep, and for many pawnbrokers this rings true; they have gone and will continue to go decades without any major incidents. Others have had this mindset and learned the hard way that a catastrophic loss can occur, and the ultimate end result is going out of business. We consider the pawn industry to be our “Pawn Family” regardless if you are insured with us or not. Many times we’ll learn about catastrophes well after the fact, with no way of helping from an insurance standpoint. Shops will often “self-insure” or choose an insurance company that doesn’t understand the intricacies of the pawn industry, and the policies secured don’t provide the specialized coverage shops need for long term financial stability. It’s one thing to believe in good luck and a total different thing to be lucky. The best way to give you and your business a fighting chance is to invest in an insurance policy specially designed for pawnbrokers.
2017 was a record year for pawn insurance, with losses totaling $330,000,000,000 (that’s a lot of zeros!), second only to 2011 with $354 billion claimed. Many of us were directly affected in 2017 and even if we weren’t, we know someone who was. Having the right insurance does not relieve you from the nightmare of having a major incident, but it certainly helps to take the sting out of it. Insured or not, losing everything is only the beginning. The process to rebuild is lengthy and takes more effort than most people realize. No one should have to expect to have a total loss, but everyone should be and can be prepared for one.
We have seen different reactions immediately following a major incident at a shop that is now unable to operate, not only from the owners of the store but also the employees, the customers, and the community as well. There can be shock, disbelief, and unfortunately pure agony. We’ve seen stores that operate like a family with real connections to their community. Their customers pull together to help them rebound and the process is less of a nightmare. I challenge you to determine today: Where does your operation fit in? Is it like a family? Do you have a real connection to your community? Regardless of your insurance situation, you’re going to have customers pouring into your store or, in the most extreme cases, your home looking for their items and answers. What are you going to tell them? In an instant, you can go from a bank for the unbanked, the lifeline of under-funded families in your community, to the most hated business owner in town. And don’t forget your employees, those who have helped you achieve your success and in turn you’ve helped with opportunities of their own. What do you tell these loyal staff members when you’re unable to reopen your shop and can no longer employ them?
You never want to have to rely on your insurance, but until you need it and don’t have it you’ll never truly know the long-lasting effects associated with a catastrophe. The old adage often rings true, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.” Start by making sure you, your shop, and your employees are covered, because wishing for good luck is no insurance policy. You can always edit your policy once it’s in place, but having a solid insurance plan is the first step in being truly covered in case of a total loss.