Posts Tagged ‘Inventory’

It Adds Up

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009


At a recent small business event, I had the pleasure of being seated next to a chapter director of the National Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Over lunch she shared with me her own insurance disaster, which illustrates the importance of good record-keeping – a costly way of learning a lesson! She collects Lladro figurines. Over 30 years of marriage, her husband would give her gifts from Lladro for commemorating special events: their wedding anniversary, Valentine’s Day, her birthday and Christmas. Lladro figurines are handcrafted in Spain and cost several hundred dollars each. Some of the figurines she has collected are irreplaceable as they are models that are no longer in production. And of course, their sentimental value is incalculable as they represent precious memories with her husband, who passed away. She had the figurines prominently displayed in a glass curio cabinet in her living room. She lost her collection when her home was burglarized. Unfortunately, she did not calculate the value of her collection in her coverage limits for her homeowner’s insurance. Nor did she endorse the collection or document the assets with videotape or photography, for example, or sales receipts. Over 30 years, that collection had become quite valuable, so in addition to the emotional distress associated with its loss, there is a significant financial loss as well. It is an all too common mistake to neglect to update asset values or to underestimate the value of non-traditional assets. I chided Stefan, our IT guru, for this very oversight. He had purchased a state-of-the art stereo system at a retailer’s bankruptcy sale for a ridiculous price. But in the event of fire, theft or other loss, he would never be able to replace that asset for what he had paid for it. It is not covered in his insurance policy, yet he insures his automobile, which is worth far less. I use the New Year as an occasion to update my business and home records to ensure that my insurance records are up to date. Please do the same – it will give you peace of mind.

It’s That Time of Year

Friday, April 17th, 2009
Spring Blooms Mean Spring Cleaning

Spring Blooms Mean Spring Cleaning

I took this picture of one of my two favorite florists in Zurich. This one is inside Bahnhof Wollishofen, the Wollishofen train station, and shows spring flowers blooming.

I use the change of seasons in the spring and in the fall to update my records, including my office and home inventory for insurance purposes, and purge outdated or obsolete paper and electronic files. I try to keep up with this task during the year, so it doesn’t become overwhelming. But the change of seasons is a reminder to formally address this need. In addition to providing the serenity that comes with a sense of order, it reduces the risk of human error to ensure that no one is working with obsolete files. (Remember to check both the files and the backups.)

I also use the occasion to replenish essential supplies, such as long-feed fish tablets for the aquarium (should we have to leave the office for more than a half-day), bottled water and other items.

And it is also a reminder to check or change the batteries in the office and home smoke alarms! If you replace the batteries on a seasonal basis, you should never hear the chirping to indicate that power loss is imminent.