John White remembers living in San Jose when the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake struck the state. He had just gotten home from his job at IBM and was turning on the TV to catch the World Series.
“It started like a freight train,” he recalled.
Soon, everything hanging from the walls and placed on shelves came crashing down, shattering as they slammed on the floor.
White estimated that he lost about $4,000 worth of items. Many people who experienced that earthquake would consider him lucky.
The incident got him thinking: How many people made insurance claims but didn’t have an inventory of their things? Chances are, many people didn’t receive their full claim, simply because they didn’t know everything they had.
The idea of forming an inventory business remained in the back of his mind throughout his three-decade career with IBM. Now retired for a year and living in Hollister, White launched White Mountain Inventory on July 1.
Using the Complete Home Journal software, White inputs photos of any and all items throughout a home. The software then creates a detailed inventory report, from which room in the house a certain item is located in to serial numbers and other information crucial to an insurance claim.
When one makes an insurance claim for damaged, lost or stolen property, the insurance policy requires the claimant to show the quantity, description and possibly the amount of loss associated with each item.
“People don’t remember what they’ve accumulated over the years,” White said.
White said he is offering the services, which are priced depending on how intensive the inventory is, to homes and small businesses in San Benito County and the South Valley. He plans to expand its reach as the business grows.
White added that there aren’t many other similar businesses; the closest one he found is in San Diego.
Such disaster planning is an unfortunate reality for California residents. According to statistics released by California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, insurance claims topped $9 billion in losses suffered from the deadly Camp, Woolsey and Hill fires in 2018.
The recent 6.4 magnitude and 7.1 magnitude earthquakes in Ridgecrest were a reminder that a devastating earthquake could strike at any time.
“With climate change, natural disasters are getting worse,” White said.
White, an Army veteran, earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mathematics from the University of South Dakota, and a master’s in industrial engineering from Florida Institute of Technology. His 30-year career at IBM saw him hold positions of software engineer, project manager and program manager.
For information, visit whitemountaininventory.com or call 831.902.9535.