Lots of pieces in play

Lots of pieces in play

The new year is off to a rapid start for the professional snow and ice management industry, and it’s not all about the winter weather. ASCA Executive Director Kevin Gilbride brings you up to speed about important recent events that have transpired, as well as what awaits throughout 2016.

January 22, 2016

Welcome to January!  Winter has kicked off in most snow areas of the country…finally!  As the Mid-Atlantic region and the East Coast are preparing to battle winter storm Jonas, I wanted to provide and update on a variety of things ASCA.  I will cover a legislative update, a look ahead at 2016 ASCA events, and some nice data we are finally able to share.

Legislative update

We continue to push forward with much success in our legislative initiatives.  Yesterday, the state of Michigan introduced our anti-indemnification bill as HB 5230. The bill places the liability with the appropriate party. If the property manager is at fault, they are liable. If the snow contractor is at fault, then he is liable. The bottom line is property owners can no longer pass their liability on to you. This bill does a number of important things:

  • It impacts insurance rates, bringing them slowly back into line.
  • It alleviates insurance carriers concerns about contract language.
  • It increases the value of the professional snow and ice management services, as property owners can no longer pass their liability on to the contractor. Finding a professional now becomes vital.
  • Scope of work changes. Since property owners will be more concerned with a properly maintained surface, scopes of work will become more favorable for the contractor increasing revenues.  Customers will not have unfair contracts utilized to reduce services necessary to create safe conditions.  For example, trigger depths may decrease, and salt application will become the discretion of the contractor, bringing increased profitability to snow contractors.

Michigan is the fifth state to move our legislation to bill stage. We are making great progress in Wisconsin and Alaska, as well as a number of other snow states.  Congratulations to the ASCA Action Network team in Michigan, led by Linda Clogg, who made this a reality. Contact me directly if you're interested in getting involved in the ASCA Action Network in your state.

We now begin the process of educating the rest of the members of Michigan’s Congress on why they need to get this bill passed quickly.

ASCA Events
Last year we kicked off our first ever Snow Academy series.  These half-day events across the country aimed at bringing the ASCA message directly to you on a grassroots level.  We held five events across the country, averaging 60 attendees per event.  Our speaker line up covered Industry Standards and why they matter, risk management, contract language, weather insurance, and the ISO/SN 9001 Quality, management system. 

I’m happy to announcewe will continue this series this year in the following cities: 

  • Hartford, Conn.(May)
  • Detroit, Mich. (May)
  • Milwaukee, Wis. (June)
  • Baltimore, Md. (Sept)
  • Denver, Colo. (Sept) 

We will finalize the exact dates, locations and speaker agenda in the next couple of weeks. So stay tuned.

In addition, we are finalizing the details (and the contract) for ASCA’s 2016 Executive Summit.  I can, however, tell you to block the dates August 3rd – 5th on your calendar for this event.  Keep an eye out for the official announcement soon. Not familiar with Executive Summit? Be sure to check out the coverage from the 2015 event by clicking HERE.,

As you may be aware, last winter was the first season any insurance company recognized ASCA-Certified education and/or ISO 9001/SN 9001 in its insurance program. Today, I’m happy to report on some very positive news.

Nationally there are 30,000 snow and ice related slip-and-fall claims annually.  Of those, 35 percent are outright dismissed.  The rest are settled, generally as a nuisance claim.

The insurance program recognizing ASCA-Certified and ISO/SN 9001 certified, while a small sample size, is showing marked progress.  To date here are the status of all claims in that program:

Industry Insurance                          VS.               ASCA Insurance Program             
35% outright dismissed                                         70% outright dismissed (up to now)        
42% settled (for less than $20,000)                         20% settled (for less than $20,000)
8% settled (for more than $20,000)                         10% remain open currently
15% go to trial                                                        0  have gone to trial
$15,132 average settlement                                    $5,000  Average Settlement

So 30 percent are still outstanding, however we expect to have many of these dismissed, as well.  Sure, there could be a few settlements, but overall, the numbers are very powerful and very positive.

I’m looking forward to reporting more positive news in the weeks and months to come. So stay tuned, stay safe and stay profitable.