There is a stigma attached to the word “snow,” that is if someone is brave enough to mutter it in the insurance world.
Our goal is to reverse that public perception and instead associate "snow" to a more admirable phrase — "risk management."
There’s enough blame to go around to explain the reasons why insurance rates have skyrocketed and frivolous slip-and-fall claims have become an industry plague. I’d rather focus on some positive news for both the insurance and the snow industries.
For many years, Mills Insurance told anyone in the insurance process who’d listen about the many virtues of the professional snow and ice removal market. However, many insurance underwriters chose to focus on the spike in slip-and-all claims with no real premium being charged for the exposure.
The time spent helping carriers better understand the professional snow and ice management industry was a time consuming but worthwhile process because Mills Insurance was able to secure an exception after demonstrating the positive steps (ASCA-C, ISO 9001/SN 9001) the snow industry had taken in recent years.
I'm thrilled to report that, after years of hard work and unwavering support from the snow industry and the ASCA, Snow Removal Insurance Brokerage is launching a snow removal general liability program for Winter 2014-15 winter.
Mills Insurance Group will still work directly with the snow industry and with individual contractors, but now Snow Removal Insurance Brokerage will work directly with the insurance agent and assist the insurance industry in becoming more knowledgeable about snow industry issues and offer a product for them to sell to their clients.
Qualified ASCA snow and ice management contractors are eligible for this preferred program once they have completed their ASCA certification (ASCA-C), or will complete their education shortly after enrollment. Although the eligibility puts the ASCA member in the game, this does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Snow Removal Insurance Brokerage has the ability to underwrite the risk based on the merits of the individual contractor and how much they have implemented positive risk management changes into their operations.
In recent years, the snow contractor would be subject to outrageous minimum premiums or limited underwriting capabilities based on the lack of understanding the carriers had when approaching the policy underwriting. We have the ability to create a policy that is fair to both contractors and insurance carriers, which will keep this product stable for every ASCA member.
Our organization built two products for the insurance carrier partner, although Snow Removal Insurance Brokerage will only offer the preferred General Liability product to ASCA members. We had developed a product for insurance wholesalers to sell to their agents, which helps the industry as a whole with the extreme lack of insurance options for professional snow removal contractors.
As contractors realize that a preferred product is available to ASCA members who are educated, trained and follow Industry Standards, they may want to elevate operations and risk management practices and they then have a way to control the costs associated with insurance.
This is a monumental step for both industries, and a leap forward toward realigning perceptions about the business of snow and ice management.