Greetings and salutations.
A recurring theme of my blog has been the difficulty Home Watch services have had while trying to deal with insurance companies. The problem: Most insurance providers have little or no knowledge of our industry. I have spoken with so many people who have approached insurance brokers, looking to obtain liability coverage, only to be shot down by unknowing underwriters. Speaking with an established property management company last week who is adding Home Watch to their services, I was shocked by what I heard. According to the owner of this company, the insurance company wanted over 10k in order to add the coverage. Ten thousand dollars! Are you kidding me? The story gets better: This particular company already covers a couple of members of the NHWA. Obviously, the left hand does not know what the right is doing. And I can assure you that most companies are paying only a small fraction of that ridiculous number.
If you search Home Watch on Manta or some of the other business lists, take a look at how Home Watch is categorized. A fair number of the listed Home Watch services are considered “security” or “armed security guard, armored car service.” I have also seen “janitorial,” “home inspection,” and even “farm services.” I am not kidding. My point is that Home Watch is all over the map. The reason for the disparity is that the US Census Bureau does not yet recognize our industry. The Census people are the ones that assign “NAICS” or North American Industry Classification System codes. Huh? Ok, if a plumber applies for an insurance policy, the underwriter looks at all of the pertinent information, plugs it all into his computer program, and the policy premium is calculated. Simple. That’s because all plumbers fall under a NAICS code that is specific to plumbers only. Same with electricians, morticians, retail stores, fast food joints…you get the idea.
The NHWA recognizes the disconnect between our current situation and where we need to be. We are planning to lobby the US Census Bureau in 2013 and get Home Watch recognized and classified with our very own NAICS code. If we are successful, all Home Watch companies should be treated fairly and, hopefully, equally. By educating insurance companies, we hope to drive down the cost of general liability insurance across the board. In addition, we’d like to see discounts for homeowners insurance for those who employ accredited Home Watch companies.
Please let us know what you think. If you’d like to share some info about your own coverage, that would be terrific. Look for upcoming blogs announcing new members. Until then, I wish you