The State of Snow Insurance

ASCA Update - asca udpate

Insurance insider Matthew J. Peterson celebrates the strides the ASCA’s insurance program has made over the last year, and highlights some of the hurdles that still need to be overcome.

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October 23, 2018
Matthew J. Peterson
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The ASCA Snow Removal Insurance Program remains strong. The program focuses on bridging the insurance world with the professional snow and ice management industry. Heading into the 2018-19 winter season, the program demonstrates its progress by decreasing base rates in 28 states, and maintaining flat base rates in 13 other states. A program decrease is not the norm outside of the specialized program.

The program is running at a 26 percent loss ratio and is set up for the long game. Snow Removal Insurance Brokerage holds a stability within our program and maintains the insurance path for snow and ice management contractors who work in conjunction with the Industry Standards.

It’s important to remember that “snow” is still a four-letter word to the general insurance marketplace. However, I’m happy to report that the insurance industry also knows more about the professional snow and ice management industry than it did 5 years ago. Insurance carriers recognize that snow and ice mitigation is vital to our society, and the emergency services you provide not only address public safety issues, but also keep the wheels of commerce turning during the winter months.

It is important to know that the ASCA Snow Removal Insurance Program recognizes a standard in underwriting disciplines that most other insurance outlets ignore. Just as some unscrupulous snow and ice management contractors will cut corners for their own benefit, there are insurance providers who cut corners, as well. Many insurance industry wholesale brokerage companies will continue to burn insurance markets. This is a greedy push to add premium to their books for quick profit. Outside of the ASCA Snow Removal Insurance Program, insurance options are increasingly limited for much of the professional contracting world. This is not ideal.

Two prominent insurance outlets — a North Carolina insurance company and one in California — changed their positions this year and stopped writing snow insurance. Again, not an ideal situation for our industry.

It is important to know that many insurance agents are especially concerned for the smaller snow contracting companies who cannot bear the cost of required insurance. This story has been told before, and the reason is clear — the claims facing property owners and the push down to snow subcontractor after snow subcontractor will come to a head. A “new normal” has been established and the cost associated with the risk must be reconciled.

Our position is to encourage the insurance industry. Insurance, and especially the independent insurance agent, is an important cog in the economy. Every day, Snow Removal Insurance Brokerage works with very bright and enthusiastic insurance agencies across the country who are genuinely seeking to help their clients. Education at this level is just as important – the message needs to be clear and for this to work, we all need to be on the same page.

For Snow Removal Insurance Brokerage’s GL program, with growth and a positive outlook, a vote of confidence has been placed in our direction, as we actually recognize the need for a rate decrease in parts of our territory. Between our organization and our counterparts at the ASCA (who deserve to take a bow for their work), the plan is coming together. The foundation of the program is based on the ASCA’s Industry Standards and very strict insurance underwriting guidelines.

Heading into Winter 2018-19, the snow industry should continue to encourage property owners to jump into the fight and help the snow and ice management industry to defend and protect the pedestrians who walk their sidewalks. When fault is determined to be a snow contractor’s responsibility, they should own it. When it’s the property owner’s fault, they should own it, as well.

We are grateful to report our progress to such an amazing industry. ASCA members who adopt and follow Industry Standards and maintain their certification (ASCA-C) create a solid foundation for themselves when it comes to risk management. These are contractor/clients we are happy to help and do business with all day long.

In 2019, we encourage the continued efforts made by so many of our valued customers, and we anticipate ongoing success and longevity of our growing insurance program.

Matthew J. Peterson is president of Mills Insurance Group in Marlton, NJ. He's a frequent Snow Magazine contributor.




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Attention Seattle

Listen up Emerald City snow contractors. The ASCA is bringing its Snow Academy to Seattle on Tuesday, Nov. 6, from 1-5 p.m. at The Westin Bellevue.

“We’ve been hoping to bring some programing to the West Coast’s snow and ice management community for some time now,” says ASCA Executive Director Kevin Gilbride. “I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to speak with members of that community and learn more about the areas where the ASCA can collaborate and provide education and support for that community of snow professionals.”

The half-day educational seminar includes:

  • ASCA Bootcamp: How the ASCA is working to change the snow industry and what it means for your business
  • Implementing the Right Document Management Strategy: A legal analysis of what documentation you need in place and why it matters when litigation arises
  • A basic understanding of snowfall insurance and how it helps protect your bottom line
  • ISO 9001/SN 9001: A Contractor's Perspective. An insider's look at the process of earning ISO certification.
  • For the Registration Website: bit.ly/2zM6lZ8

    For the Registration Form: bit.ly/2NZbK7O