Greetings and salutations to all.
As 2011 winds down, we need to look ahead to the challenges and obstacles facing our industry. Speaking with Members from all over the United States, I am constantly reminded of why the NHWA was formed: To raise standards in the Home Watch industry; to educate the public as to what Home Watch is; and to protect the public from unscrupulous and un- or underinsured companies claiming to be Home Watch professionals. Let’s face it … sooner or later, someone doing Home Watch will mess up and give our industry a black eye. An uninsured service will goof and be liable for damages and not have the means to make things right. As quickly as we (the industry) are growing, we will eventually be scrutinized by some government agency who will look to regulate us.
The NHWA has been researching NAICS codes. These codes are assigned by the U.S. Census Bureau to businesses and industries categorizing what they make or what services they perform. Because our services do not fall into one category, we don’t have our own code. Why is this important? Well, for one thing, it explains the disparity in our insurance premiums and, in certain circumstances, in our ability to procure insurance at all. Did you have to jump through hoops when you were starting out? Did you know that a majority of Home Watch services are listed under the government code for “guard, detective and armed car services”? Others are listed under “janitorial services,” “farms,” “real estate and managers,” and the old standby, “non-classified services.” I would bet the ranch that there are a lot of Home Watch companies who are paying a lot more for insurance than they should be. I had a long and informative conversation with the Census Bureau in Washington last week. I found out that if we start lobbying for a classification now, it won’t even be up for discussion until 2013 for the 2016 new listings. What do we do until this happens?
And then there is something that is a “no-brainer” to me and all the companies I am in contact with. Why are insurance companies not incentivizing all customers who employ Home Watch? If a legitimate service is checking on an empty home, how can that not reduce the chances of an insurance company having to pay out larger and more frequent claims to these homeowners? If there is an issue that can be rectified sooner rather than later, how can this not be worthy of a discount for the homeowner?
These are some of the issues that need to be addressed, issues which if dealt with can not only solidify market share amongst us, but more importantly, add even more credibility and value to what we do. I ask for your help and input in tackling these obstacles, in making things better for all of us. As always, I wish you