Take the pain

How to best deal with “those” insurance people.

Many ASCA members have had an experience interacting with our insurance group on some level for the last three years. The intent is to serve the ASCA membership and leadership as an insurance resource during this important time of change.

Each member of our team has different areas and functions that they focus on and exhibits a broad knowledge base when working with snow and ice managers, like yourself.

We believe it is time to connect the dots – or “pull back the curtain”, if you will – and introduce the team who has been stressing with you during the winter months.

Here are some common questions and scenarios the team fields, and their insight about how an insurance broker approaches it.

Playing therapist because of snow removal liability premiums.

Jason Peterson, vice president: “Historically, the insurance premiums charged for snow were a flat fee (i.e. $800 plus the payroll of any non-snow operations). Now, the cost can be a percent of revenue and should be much higher, which has adjusted the “new normal” for the types and amount of claims that occur in the industry.”

Obtaining contractor loss history for the last 5 years.

Brian Palmer, producer: “Claims history is necessary in underwriting insurance, just as the information used by doctors is necessary in evaluating a person’s health. We teach the client that they should have this information and advise them of what to do with it once obtained. It is not only vital in writing insurance, but also important for you to know in the interest of your company.”

Helping snow and ice management professionals thru the long, seven-page supplemental.

Noah Sherman, producer: “In the past, Insurance companies clearly didn’t understand the snow and ice management industry. The information collected prior to Mills was insufficient. We believe that lack of understanding was part of the big problem this industry had been buried with. While it may seem like overkill, it will produce a more accurate policy for the client’s operations.”

Contractor: “Why do I have to submit contracts to get a quote for insurance?”

Jason Trifiro, producer: “This is where the rubber meets the road. The additional insured exposure will play a part when contracts are signed. If an insurance provider is going to take a bet on a risk, they need to know what the client is agreeing to, and what types of exposures will be present. Would you take a bet like this in the blind? I think not.”

We’re proud of the team we have in place – each a snow removal insurance expert – that cares about clients and the dedication and stress associated with this industry that arises when attempting to help protect a company. Hopefully this insight gives you a unique look at what an insurance professional can offer when partnering with like-minded snow professionals.


Matt Peterson, CRIS, is the owner of Mills Insurance, Tabernacle, N.J. He serves on the ASCA’s Industry Standards Committee and is a frequent Snow Magazine contributor.

October 2014
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