Understand Your Commercial Property Insurance
to Avoid Surprises
Earthquakes and Fire and Flooding, Oh My!
The worst time to learn
about your insurance is
when disaster strikes.
Damage to commercial
properties can be financially
devastating to business
buildings often require
expensive repairs. In addition,
can cripple property values.
Owners typically address
these risks by buying
buyers may not have a
good understanding of
their plan and what itactually
covers. This often
results in unwanted surprises when a disaster
Take earthquake insurance for example. If
an earthquake destroys a $500,000 building
and the owners have an insurance policy
with a 15% deductible, the owner will need to
pay thefirst $75,000 in repairs. However, if
the earthquake damage falls below $75,000
(15% of thebuilding's value), owners may be
surprised when they have to cover the entire
In addition, insurance agencies and owners
may estimate the costs of repairs differently.
After performing their own calculations,
an insurance provider may expect to
pay $150,000 to repair damages. However,
the true costs to the owner may be closer to
$200,000. The owner, therefore, may have
to take on a surprise expense.
Having spent several decades in commercial
real estate, I've heard numerous horror
stories about insurance-related surprises.
The worst time to learn about your insurance
is when disaster strikes. Taking the time to
understand your property's insurance plan
can prevent problems before they occur.
To gain a better understanding of their
plan, owners need to first identify their
building's greatest risks (fires, floods, earthquakes,
etc.). They should then meet with
the insurance company's claims department
and discuss potential scenarios.
should ask questions like, "How much would
I be required to pay out of pocket in this situation?"
and "Are there any situations where
I'd be required to pay more than my deductible
to complete the total cost of the repairs?"
Meeting with a claims department may
reveal critical information about the quality
of one's insurance. For example, owners
may learn that their coverage is insufficient
or does not reflect the risks facing their
building. They may also discover that their
provider has incorrect information about
their building's value or risks. Knowing this
information beforehand can prevent a number
of potential conflicts and reduce financial
The Mid-Valley has many qualified insurance
professionals. Be sure to choose someone
with a good reputation who is active in
the community and in their industry association.
Alex Rhoten is a principal broker at Coldwell
Banker Mountain West Commercial Real Estate.
Inspiring Leaders and Non-profits
interview with a
David Ballantyne, President
Each month, I interview a
non-profit leader. My last
leader was the president
of a healthcare related
non-profit. This month
we feature another organization
with a very
different subject - community
this interview with David
Ballantyne, President of
Pentacle Theatre is a volunteer, non-profit
community theatre presenting quality productions
in an intimate setting for over 64
How did you get into the role? How did
you find yourself in leadership in the organization?
I have been a volunteer in the Pentacle
Theatre family since 1999. I started as an
actor in the production of Arthur Miller's A
View of a Bridge. I acted on and off sporadically,
even taking a break for a few years until
they held auditions for One Flew Over the
Cuckoo's Nest. I knew I had to audition and
was cast as RP McMurphy. This role and
reintroduction to Pentacle Theatre started
me down a path of volunteering for the organization
that grew and grew! I became
more involved with social media for the theater
and joined the marketing committee,
served and chaired the annual winter fundraiser
committee as well as continuing to act
in as many shows as I could. In 2013, I was
elected to the governing board and served
a three-year term. I was also very fortunate
to receive the Volunteer of the Year award
in 2015. In 2016, I directed my first play,Of
Mice and Men. In 2018, I was elected to my
second term on the governing board and my
first term as president.
What experiences best prepared you for
I have held many leadership positions
over the years in the non-profit world, the
private sector and for the State of Oregon.
With management experience ranging from
operational control over a small chain of retail
stores in the northwest, chairing committees
for Pentacle Theatre and various
leadership rolesfor the Oregon Health Plan.
All these unique perspectives allow me to
bring a nuanced and versatile background
to operational decision making and organizational
What is difficult about your nonprofit
leadership role? What is easy?
Any time you have the responsibility of
operational and fiscal success of such a
legendary and revered organization like
Pentacle There, there is a real sense of care
that needs to be infused into every decision.
Like many opportunities, we all struggle to
be asking ourselves, "Is this the right thing
to do for the theater?" There can be many
right answers to that question and as a governing
board team, we have a lot of valuable
discussion about where we are headed and
the decisions we make.
The easiest part is knowing how many
people in the organization participate with
the same intention: to do the best that
we can to continue to put on high-quality
productions and continue to foster a welcoming
and collaborative environment.
Everyone - from the governing board, to
committee members, to hospitality guild
members, to production crews, and to actors
and staff - shares that commitment.
That is rare, indeed.
What have you uniquely contributed to
I have made efforts to see Pentacle
grow as a known community leader. I was
a founding member of the Salem Theatre
Network that started in 2015, which looks
to shine a light on all the great theater happening
in the Mid-Willamette Valley and
hoping that a feeling of community not
competition would take hold. Our governing
board and I have been guiding our organization
to take a clear stance on antiharassment
and sexual harassment-free
environment. As an arts organization, we
hold the safety and security of our volunteers
and staff as a major priority. We have
adopted policies and procedures to ensure
that volunteers and staff have the access to
What are you looking for in future leaders in your group?
There are leaders everywhere in Pentacle
Theatre! One of the great aspects of our
organization is that it allows and fosters
leadership opportunities for everyone in almost
every role. We encourage leading and
collaboration whether it's among the backstage
crew, the staff, our actors, the directors
or our committee members.
Key attributes that will always help someone
who aspires to lead anywhere is to be
collaborative, engage in active listening,
sharpen your communication skills, practice
empathy, own mistakes, offer solutions
and show appreciation to all who give their
time, energy and heart.
s there anything else you would like to add?
I have been a resident of the mid-Willamette
valley my whole life; most of it Salem.
With over 20 years as an artist in the
community, be it as a musician, actor or
director. I treasure it deeply and it has been
deeply rewarding. I am honored to carry the
leadership flag, if even for a short while. I
believe we provide a vital component to the
culture and community of Salem, Oregon.
What others say about David:
"David's primary motivation is preserving
Pentacle Theatre, strengthening its artistry
and ensuring that it remains a resource for
generations of theater lovers to come. We
are fortunate that we have generations of
committed volunteers willing to serve this
treasure of the mid-Willamette."- Lisa Joyce,
Executive Director of the Pentacle Theatre
To learn more about the Pentacle Theatre
you can visit pentacletheatre.org.
That's it for this month. Are you a volunteer leader
of a nonprofit or association? If you or someone you
know would like to be featured in my column, email
me at email@example.com
G. Harvey Gail is president of Spire Management, an association
management, event planning and consulting firm located in
Salem, Oregon. www.SpireManagement.com , @HarvGail.
Don't Get Drawn Into Conspiracy Theories
It is often difficult for
site or defend how they
developed their theories.
You may laugh at the idea
of a secret society like the
Illuminati or a theory that
humans are all in a videogame
there are conspiracy theorists
who don't; a surprising
number of them.
While these are obviously
extreme, it is worthwhile
to understand how
we can be drawn into such
ideas, tossing aside the
probable for the unlikely. We often interact
with people who think that conspiracies are
common and make it their mission to reveal
In fairness, there have been a handful of
times where conspiracies were happening,
and it took some brave investigators to be
persistent and to reveal the facts. The government
DID test LSD on Americansin the
MK-ULTRA program. John Lennon WAS
under surveillance. Big tobacco KNEW cigarettes
caused cancer. Movies are full of these
stories both true and imagined, making them
seem more prevalent.
Definition of conspiracy theory: A conspiracy
theory is a claim that a conspiracy, a secret
plan to do something unlawful or harmful,
took place. Conspiracy theories typically
offer an explanation that differs from a widely
Identifying conspiracy theorists: People
who put forth improbable theories may start
at a place of paranoia and projects those
ideas on to others. You might want to watch
for phrases such as: "I'm not trying to imply
that X is trying to do Y; I'm just asking the
question." X might be the government, or a
local business and Y could be just about anything
that the conspiracy theorist dislikes.
Yes, they are"trying to imply," sowing the
seeds of doubt and mistrust.
How to deal with people who see conspiracies
everywhere: It is often difficult for conspiracy
theorists to site or defend how they
developed their theories. When asked: "Help
me understand how you came to this conclusion"
or "Where did you find this information?"
it may be hard for them to give yousubstantial
answers. They will quote other
people with similar conspiracy theories or
take quotes from others (such as government
officials) unbacked and out of context.
When you are the target of a conspiracy
theorist: Similar to the rules of public relations,
if you are the target of a conspiracy or
someone is trying to "imply" that something
fishy is going on, you should not let the comments
go unrefuted. If you are in a public
setting you can ask the person to provide
more detail and sources for their comments.
If comments are made on social media, you
can challenge their position and provide or
link accurate source information or statistics.
At this point, most reasonable people
will be satisfied.
At the end of the day, realize sometimes
you just can't win. There are some disagreements
that are simply not worth fighting. If
you have someone in your circle who sees a
cover-up everywhere and always seems to be
looking for the most nefarious reason for every
decision, you might have to let that one
go. If they are a negative in your life, consider
finding a different friend. Conspiracy
theorists can be draining, and there is no use
wasting your time thinking about things that
probably aren't true.
Mary Louise VanNatta, APR, CAE is the CEO
of VanNatta Public Relations a PR, Consulting
and Event Planning firm in Salem, Oregon. Prsalem.com