Thursday, November 29, 2012

Snow removal insurance, the trifecta

By Martin Tirado

I enjoy going to the horse track and betting on races. I didn’t grow up with it, as there are no horse tracks in Wisconsin, instead going the first time as an adult to a track in Arizona while on vacation. I’ve continued to go back when I can as I enjoy examining the odds, background of the horses, the preparations before each race, and of course the excitement that occurs during each race until the finish. 

For those familiar, there’s a bet in horse racing called the trifecta. It’s predicting which horses will come in 1st, 2nd and 3rd in exact order. The payout depends on the odds, but picking a trifecta typically pays out abundantly. There’s also a trifecta in insurance for snow contractors, and it’s not a gamble. It’s a requirement. This trifecta is the contractor to agent to provider relationship, and each has an important role in managing risk for a snow and ice business. 

The trifecta starts with the contractor based on the coverage needed for their business. This is often driven by what consumers are requiring in their contracts. Snow Business magazine has been publishing regular articles on insurance coverage, a baseline list of needed coverage is discussed here.

The second part of the trifecta is the local agent or broker. We have heard clearly over the years from snow contractors that they appreciate and value the relationship they have with their local agents. This is incredibly important. You want someone you can trust and who understands your business. This person should also evaluate your annual renewals, and search diligently for competitive rates from a variety of providers if you feel your premium rates are not competitive. Similar to how you use an attorney or an accountant, a knowledgeable insurance agent is an essential asset to your business.

The actual insurance company, or provider, completes the trifecta. Check the longevity, financial strength, customer reviews, and their claims process. Talk with your agent on the extent that your provider will challenge frivolous claims or situations where an accident occurred out of your scope of work or responsibility. Will they challenge a claim that could affect your future claim history?

When putting together your insurance trifecta, snow contractors consistently want to have options on the agents and providers they choose. If you’re among those looking for options, SIMA has them. We have relationships with several agents and providers that have the knowledge and experience with other snow and ice companies and can identify the appropriate and cost effective coverage you need. SIMA members can find these SIMA-approved insurance providers here.

Unlike at the race track, don’t make your trifecta a gamble, consider it a safe bet for success.

Martin Tirado, CAE is the Executive Director for the Snow & Ice Management Association and can be reached at 

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