It sounds like a protection racket for a few "good ole boys" that despise the free market & the competition they are getting from small business owners.
I tend to agree with Meezer on this.
SIMA does a decent job, just in membership enrollment, the CSP program, education, etc. and is reasonably affordable for most companies that are in the snow & ice business. Yet SIMA still only has 2000 or so members, and under 200 CSP (or so), nationwide. Enrollment with SIMA ALONE seperates you from the "guy with a truck", before you even participate in any of the educational programs available.
I understand why ASCA was/is being created, there is a HUGE issue with liability in this industry. I personally looked into it but as a contractor that is industry percentage wise large (average snow contractors does well under 100K, I believe), we do much more than that. The ASCA fees were more than I was willing spend, especially after the last year & a half (tight budget), nor do I believe the cost/benefit is there.
I have talked with my insurance broker at length about the liability issues on several occastions, I have been with him a number of years (10+) so we have built a decent relationship up over time. He has spoke with the state legislators about it at length, not just our idustry, but personal injury in general. There take is more or less, in quick summary, is someone is injured & can't work someone has to pay to support that person so there are two options they can go on some sort of public assistance program which raises taxes and makes them look bad OR the insurance companies can payout & have to raise premiums (or refuse to insure), and make insurance companies look like the bad guys. For these reasons all the lobbying in the world won't work. Bottom line this is about politics, plain & simple nothing else.
It sucks to say the only solution I see in the future, and it isn't far down the road I'm afraid. Is that if insurance companies refuse to insure snow clearing operations, we will be shut down completly as an indstry, HOWEVER snow clearing still needs to happen or it will be really bad all around (everything will shut down). Then the legislation will have to be fixed. We are already down to a handful of companies that will insure us, its only time.
My goal is to get as close to debt free as quick as possible, because once this happens, the companies that survive will be in an excellent position.