RVIA Economic Impact Study

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.

Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .

Exclusive: Dealer Fire Highlights Need for Right Insurance Coverage

Tue Feb 27, 2018
Author: John Ghrist

The right insurance coverage, the help of its insurance adjuster, and the support of the dealer community is helping a Fresno, California RV dealership recover from a devastating Feb. 20 fire.

The fire destroyed a 15,000-square-foot building and its contents, as well six customer coaches in for repair and four more company units parked outside. Of 18 display units, approximately a third were total losses, another third are repairable but will have to be sold with disclaimers, and a final third had only minor damage, according to Curt Curtis, company president. Fortunately, no one was injured.

But Paul Evert's Country RV is now on its way to bouncing back from its losses and looking forward to the future. A key to the dealership’s efforts to move on is insurance coverage and assistance, Curtis says.

"Our insurance company already got a list of our techs' tools that were destroyed," says Curtis, and those will be replaced as soon as this week.

Handling the claim for Paul Evert's RV is Bob Keenan, an adjuster for Sentry Insurance based in Stephens Point, Wisconsin. Keenan says that keys to recovery from an incident like the one at Paul Evert's RV is to carry comprehensive insurance and plan for the worst.

"Complete coverage should include accurate values for replacement costs," Keenan says. "You have to take into account local building code modifications you'll have to meet for replacement construction. You have to include business interim funding, such things as covering your payroll costs, particularly for service techs," or other employees, if there's a prolonged period in which employees can't do their work.

Other expense possibilities are for use of temporary equipment, a need to rent a temporary space and the possibility of having to pay to outsource some company functions until recovery can be carried out. Keenan recommends reviewing insurance coverage annually to be sure there's adequate coverage to meet these and other costs at current replacement prices.

"The other important thing is to have a backup plan. Figure out your worst-case scenario and plan for that," says Keenan. "For example, line up a backup service facility prior to an event. Build in some redundancy." That way, if you ever have a catastrophe as bad or worse as the fire at Paul Evert's RV, the time spent creating a contigency plan will be well worth it, he says.

Paul Evert's Country RV caught fire when faulty wiring in an RV's refrigeration unit inside the maintenance shop shorted out. Employees tried to fight the fire with extinguishers, but it spread too quickly. Firefighters arrived to help, but there was a water pressure problem, and soon there were 30-foot flames devouring four service bays. The fire spread to propane tanks, causing explosions.

By the time the fire was out, despite the losses, Paul Evert's Country RV has stayed open. Immediate recovery plans include looking for a temporary facility nearby to which the company can move some of its service operations, and in the longer term, building some covered areas that can serve as temporary service bays. The company hopes to recover in just a few months, Curtis says.

"We're finding our way," Curtis says. "We've done no layoffs. We've moved service techs affected by the fire to shared bays at another facility nearby. Our service business is OK."

Company employees are now dealing with issues such as soot removal and ash cleanup, so there is no hazard to personnel. Next on the agenda is pressure washing of the areas affected and getting permits for demolition and new construction while the company waits for the adjustment process to play out.

Curtis says one of the biggest helps has been other members of the dealer community, who have reached out to provide sympathy and encouragement. Some of them offered advice based on having suffered their own calamities, and one recommended that Evert's hire an outside company to help with filing insurance claims, advice Curtis is taking.

"There's different coverages for loss of the building and losses of units," Curtis says. "There's also losses from business interruption and from the loss of tools and parts."

The complexity of the potential claim makes getting some outside help useful, because his staff has no experience dealing with a difficulty of this magnitude, Curtis says.