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Protect Your California Farm & Contractors Equipment with an Owner Applied Number

You’re a farmer and you store your stuff (tractors, machinery, equipment, supplies, etc.) in your barn.  Because your stuff is so vital to your operations, you’ve taken many steps to protect it.  You lock your barn every night.  You also have it alarmed.  And in case something does happen, you have it insured.  But one night at 3am….

….you wake up to your phone ringing.  It’s your alarm company, notifying you of a break in occurring in your barn.  You run out to the barn, but the thieves have already made it out off your property with some of your items.  You’re disappointed but at peace because you’ve done all you can reasonably do, right?  Up until now: yes.  But now?  No.  You can do more.  It’s called an Owner Applied Number, or OAN for short.

Most of your valuable items have an ID number that is registered with a governmental department.  Your car has a VIN that is registered with the DMV.  Your livestock are branded and registered with the Bureau of Livestock Identification.  If someone is apprehended with your car or livestock in their possession, your items will be easily linked back to you.  But what about your tractors, implements, hand tools, and other machinery, supplies, and  equipment that are equally important to you and your business?

I’m writing to tell you that now there is a way to link your property back to you through an OAN.

You might be asking:

  1. What is an OAN?
  2. How does it work?
  3. How do I get one?

Let me help.

What is an OAN?

It is a unique 10-digit number provided by the state of California that you imprint (stamp, engrave, or paint) on any of your valuable items.

How does it work?

Pretend you’re the farmer in the story above: when the thief that took your stuff gets pulled over and the cop asks why he’s carrying a bunch of farming items in the passenger seat, the cop notices an OAN, looks it up in the data base, and becomes aware that these are YOUR belongings.  This is a win for you, even if you have insurance.  Why?  Because it speeds up the time it takes to recover your items which settles the claim quicker.  If you’ve ever had your car stolen, you might know that before your insurance company pays for a replacement car, they want to make sure they can’t recover your stolen car first.  Thanks to the VIN being registered with the DMV and accessible by law enforcement, finding – or not finding – your car is fairly quick and efficient.  Now, the same concept applies here to items marked by your OAN.

How do I get one?

The simplest way is to download the application here: www.da-tulareco.org/PDF/Brochures/OAN-2014.pdf.  Note that although the program is headquartered in Tulare County, it is open to anyone in the state of California.

Also, here’s the country’s website with information about the OAN program: www.da-tulareco.org/agricultural_crime.htm#OAN

If you’re still not sure how to get one, I’ve also been known to help people, especially those that are clients of mine.  : )

Final word on this: you do not have to be involved in agriculture to get an OAN.  It is open to anyone, and contractors might find this especially beneficial.

ELI GILLESPIE

I’m the Commercial Producer and Manager at Gillespie Insurance Services.

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Posted on January 25, 2016 By Eli Gillespie

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Gillespie Insurance Services helps people and businesses in California, Arizona and Nevada.