Hurricane Ian hit the coast of Florida. This article is not meant to trivialize the cost the hurricane will have on people. Other sites will cover the toll this storm will have on human lives. The purpose of this article is to make sure readers are fully aware of the impact of Hurricane Ian on the comic book and collectibles marketplace.
CGC is closed for the storm
Many people use CGC to grade their books and collectibles. CGC is currently closed because of Hurricane Ian making landfall in Florida. This was done to protect the lives of their employees and not tax the first responders in the area. The CGC headquarters is located in Sarasota, Florida. Wind Gusts in the area have been reported to be clocked at 70 mph. CGC has posted on their website that their employees have been evacuated but that all items that have arrived are safe in vaults.
The site also indicates that their facilities were to code to withstand hurricanes. In addition, the site explains that they are far away from the coast and that they are not in a flood plain. This makes potential surges hopefully not an issue. Some reports of flooding are still being reported in the area by media outlets, although these reports cannot be verified near the CGC headquarters.
The question users will have is at what time can staff return to the site after the storm safely to assess possible damage. The fact that there is only one facility could mean delays in just getting to the site. Another problem is that reportedly 2 million people are without power. Even though the storm may pass, power outages and other damage may impact their ability to operate when employees can return to their workplace. Please monitor their site for further company updates.
Risk of Loss Explained
One of the questions that was asked of CGC President Matt Nelson for the grading experiment series of articles concerned risk of loss. Risk of loss is basically who will pay the cost if an item is destroyed or damaged and what triggers that exposure. This issue is very important to people who buy and sell collectibles. Sellers assume that the buyer will ultimately be responsible while buyers assume the opposite. Both buyers and sellers assume that the carrier will be responsible when the item is shipped. This is a misconception. The extent of the exposure may be limited or negated based upon certain conditions (Act of God). Collectors who have items in transit may be wise to review their contracts to see who is ultimately responsible for lost or damaged items.
Those people that are located in the area, and all areas, should verify if their collections are covered under existing policies. If you believe you are covered and the insurance company declines a claim, the next step should be to contact an attorney in your area. The loss one can experience during these storms can be devastating. That grief will only be multiplied if an insurance company that has received many premium payments denies a claim. Do not accept that as the final answer until all options are explored.
The USPS has already suspended deliveries and retail operations in the areas that might be impacted by Hurricane Ian. In contrast at the time of this writing, UPS is reportedly still sending workers to the affected areas and trying to secure sites with sandbags. This may raise concerns of hobbyists who have had items shipped in the area. Insurance is largely ignored by many sellers and shippers, but if UPS is sending out trucks in dangerous situations then the well-being of packages and lives may be at risk. Packages can always be replaced through insurance policies, but lives cannot. If you are shipping items, please note that delays may occur and do not forget to obtain insurance for your items.
These facilities may also not be the best equipped for surge and flood damage. CGC may be using a vault to protect items from storm damage, but many of these logistic companies are not. Valuable items may be on the floor or in trucks that may in fact be in flood zones. If you are shipping an item please let the buyer know that delays may occur EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT IN THE IMPACTED AREA. Resources will be stretched thin, so expect delays. Normal shipping routes have been impacted. Buyers and sellers should track all shipments with a little more diligence than normally required.
Local Comic Book Stores
Local businesses will be impacted by Hurricane Ian. Try to support any stores that may be negatively impacted by these storms. The economy is already difficult for some. Customers will now have to spend their money on home repairs and supplies, further reducing their disposable income. If you can, try to support local comic book and collectible stores in the area. These stores may have already been struggling and this storm will only add to their problems.
Any assistance would probably be greatly appreciated. Local comic book store directories can be found online that list stores in Florida. Instead of buying that Starbucks coffee, how about buying a book from a store that has been impacted by the storm? The collectible community is a giving one, so let us all do what we can when we can.