This is a repost of a blog that I wrote over two years ago. It pertains to the difficulties that many Home Watch companies experience while trying to obtain insurance. Not only is this still an issue with regard to the disparity in pricing, but once you have it, will it actually cover what your HW service actually does? Since this was posted in July of 2011, the NHWA has been working diligently to rectify this. A few months back we were able to get a national insurance provider to develop an actual Home Watch general liability policy…at an affordable price! Although there have been a number of policies issued already, the policy will be officially launched at this October’s NHWA 1st Annual Conference. I urge all Home Watch companies to review their current policy and make sure that it is relevant to your service. – Jack
(first posted 7/16/2011)
Why do certain insurance companies know what we do, and others don’t? Why are some insurance premiums realistic, and others ridiculous? I think I know why. Any ideas? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: In my opinion, most insurance companies have no idea what a Home Watch company is or does. We are called so many different things, that these companies stick us into whichever category works for them. Riddle me this, Batman: Right now in Indiana, there is a home inspector who has been trying to get insurance for his new Home Watch business. His broker has been presenting him with crazy numbers for premiums. The cost of the premiums he is looking at is too prohibitive for him to start up. Let me say that again: He’s a home inspector! Hello? The man has a home inspection business. What is the problem?
I remember the hoops I had to jump through with my company when I first started Coastal Carolina Home Watch in 2005, I had to present all of my literature, answer a lot of questions, explain the human g-nome theory, and then sweat it out while awaiting the company’s decision as to whether to insure me or not. And then I had to accept their terms. But hey, that was years ago. Certainly by now our industry would be recognized by insurance providers. I guess not.
For those of you who read my blog and visit the NHWA Website, I thank you. I hope that you all are starting to realize how important it is for us to come together. This Association was formed to raise the standards and establish a level of excellence by our member companies conducting business in a highly ethical manner. A major goal of this organization is to connect with insurance providers and get this industry recognized. That accomplished, we will work towards lowering premiums for accredited members. Once the dialogue has begun, we will work to obtain discounts for homeowners who employ accredited companies to care for their homes. A good selling point for our services? We all agree that if a homeowner gets a discount for a security system, then shouldn’t having a company that actually reponds to the alarm qualify them also? If the alarm goes off and they are 800 miles away, the police may show up, but what can they do aside from arresting whoever has broken in? You all agree that if insurance companies justify increased premiums for vacation or part-time homes–or even cancelling your insurance altogether, then the homeowner should get credit for having people in that home, checking it’s condition and systems on a regular basis. Right? Right. You get my point.
We need to come together for a lot of reasons. If an uninsured (or under-insured) company makes a mistake, or gets sued, or does something criminal, we will all be affected. Somehow. In Massachusetts, Home Watch companies must be licensed through the state police. In Arizona, legitimate Home Watch companies are also licensed contractors. Those contractors have to pay into a fund for fraudulent companies that have done shoddy work. HEY, CANADA! What about you? Anyway, I believe it is inevitable that regulation of our industry will happen eventually. Can we help ourselves? I think we can.
Hey, insurance companies and commercial insurance brokers: Call me…we’ll do lunch!