Taking Stock

The Presidential election tomorrow has led to an interesting condition in the glass industry, especially among retailers and smaller glazing contractors. It’s actually one I’ve not seen before.

Many of the glass shop owners and managers with whom I have spoken during these past two months or so have told me the same story: their warehouses and back rooms are full of glass ordered specifically for jobs they have already been contracted to do. They are ready to schedule and complete them, but the building owners are not. They don’t want the glass installed, not yet anyway.

Some of the glass replacements are a result of usual breakage, others a fix for weather damage. And some glass will fill openings created by rioting and civil unrest. Fearing more, owners have told the shops to put their projects on hold until after the election. These owners and managers have taken a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” attitude to scheduling these jobs.

That the building owner does not want to replace the glass multiple times is understandable. They are content with board-ups until they feel the danger of more damage has passed. This has led glass shop owners to tie up tons of inventory—and space—on jobs for which they can’t collect because they have not been completed.

Building owners and managers don’t want the cost—in time or dollars—of replacing the same glass two or three times. And many have lost faith in insurance as a protection against items such as this or COVID-19. Glass shops may wish to examine and consider practices such as storage charges or maximum lengths of storage in the future.

And since insurance was mentioned, I’d like to add two quick notes about the business insurance most of us, and our customers, have:

  1. No surprise: business insurance rates are going up. According to the Ivans Index, an analysis of more than 120 million insurance data transactions, the average commercial property insurance rate increased 5.3% for the quarter, business owner policies were up 4.8%, general liability and umbrella insurance increased 3.4% and 3.1%, respectively. There was one reduction. Worker’s comp insurance went down an average of 2.4%.
  2. Some COVID coverage: A judge in North Carolina has ruled that an insurer must pay claims to a group of North Carolina restaurants that were closed due to state mandates. It’s the first decision to connect COVID-caused state shutdowns to a physical loss, the general standard where business insurance kicks in. It remains to be seen if this was just an outlier or the start of a trend.