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I just got a call today from my insurance broker, informing me that my business policy is up on Dec 1 and the company will not renew my policy because I plow snow. He told me he called 9 other insurance companys and no one would want to cover me except 1 company who qoated him over $5000 to cover me. I was paying $850 per year and have never had a claim of any type.

I don't mind so much that they don't want my business, what I don't like is that they waited 2 weeks before the policy was up to let know me of this. If they had told me about this a month ago I might found another line of work for the winter but right now I'm obligated to take care of my customers until the spring. My trucks are covered under my auto policy but not for slip and fall accidents. I'm a small time operator and there is no way I can afford to pay this.

Are any of you other Canadian guys having the same trouble?


Ray - http://www.insurancepanda.com
 

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Yep.I got lucky,and my policy was renewed in October.They have warned me they may not renew it next year.


Was chatting with another contractor today,and he was just dropped,and no one will take him on now.He was saying quite a few companies have were dropping people this week.

Maybe something went down that we don't know about yet ? This is getting scary.

:confused:
 

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Try CNLA Hort-Protect . From what I understand Lombard is currently the only insurance company who will write a snow policy in Canada. Discounts apply to Landscape Ontario Members. Doug Kettler is the guy to speak with. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Diginahole: thanks for the tip. I just sent them an e-mail to get a price. I guess there is going to be lots of guys with no insurance this season if everyone is getting dumped. At least I'm not the only one.

Ray
 

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I was just going to say check with Landscape Ontario.They do have someone who will still insure people.Probably gonna pay through the teeth though.Good luck,and let me know how you make out,as we may be in the same boat next season.
 

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Same thing here, only ours went up by $50,000 this year and we had no claims last year. Nobody wants to write insurance for snow anymore. This will be our biggest hurdle in the years to come.

Good Luck
 

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What is up with insurance issue? Are these guys paying out large claims? Or is there just not enough people to make it profitable. I carry a liability policy on me and my truck. ( I am a sub) My carrier had no problem with it. Now I due have insurance for my buisness so this was written up with my other policy. So I do know that keeps my rate way down.
T
 

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The problem as I see it with insurance companies is, they sit around collecting your money for years and getting fat, then when you make a claim they get pissed off and drop you.:headwall
 

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Snowplows stopped cold by insurance

I am trying to get into plowing any even if i was able to find myself small contracts or a small contract for this year i would have to pay huge. I can get insurance. Commercial insurance will cost me $5000 and then i need auto insurance.

I will have to be a sub and then i can maybe get a full policy from State Farm.

Snowplows stopped cold by insurance. Globe & Mail Saturday 15th


Many condominium corporations, apartment landlords and homeowners will have to scramble to find someone to clear their snow this winter as skyrocketing insurance costs force some small operators to lay down their plows in protest.

Those who are staying in the business say clients could pay up to double last year's prices to have their snow cleared, with large parking lots getting hit the hardest. One Toronto-area mall is reportedly paying $400,000, up from $140,000 last year.

But it's not just an issue in Toronto. In Alberta, insurance rates are also driving some people out of the business.

"Some of my subcontractors can't afford the insurance to keep plowing," Scott Forrest of Calgary Landscape Maintenance Ltd. said. He said his insurance costs have doubled in the past three years, and he blamed most of the increase on his snow-removal operation.

"Once you put a plow on your truck, your insurance rates just go way up," Mr. Forrest said.

Even with the first flurries dusting the Toronto area in recent days, Jonathan Sutherland says he is getting out of the snowplow business because his insurance bills have shot up 30 to 40 per cent.

Mr. Sutherland, who owns Erinway Greenscaping, a landscaping business in Oakville, said insurers also add a snow-clearing surcharge of about $1,500 to the basic price of about $10,000 for a small business of his size.

"The snow [insurance] is ridiculous," Mr. Sutherland said. "And it's absolutely got to the point this year where I've stopped doing snow removal. And I know a lot of companies are doing the same thing."

Mr. Sutherland, who adds that his auto insurance alone has jumped 20 per cent, said he would normally keep two of his five trucks out in the winter for snow removal. Like many snow removers, he runs a landscaping business in the summer, when he has about 10 employees. For now, he says, he is going to stick to the warmer side of the business and leave snow removal to someone else.

"You just can't make any money at it," he said.

Some lone operators -- a driver with a truck and a plow -- may try to work this winter without insurance, Mr. Sutherland said.

Industry observers blame the situation on the pinch that the entire insurance industry is feeling. Also, accident claims against snow removers have increased. People file suit after they slip and fall on a site the remover is contracted to clear.

"What happens generally is high-risk activities are finding it difficult to get insurance in the regular market," said Mark Yakabuski, Ontario vice-president of the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Until the government moves to control the rising health-care costs and increasing number of lawsuits that plague the auto-insurance business, the problem will only get worse, he said.

The snow-removal business is also cursed with a history of one-sided contracts that have the snow-removal company facing all of the liability for accidents that take place on the site to be cleared, said Robert Kennaley, a lawyer hired by an industry group to draw up a new standard contract that distributes the risk more evenly.

While some small operators may be giving up, the insurance rates are hitting bigger businesses, too. Bob Wilton, president of Clintar Groundskeeping Services, one of Ontario's largest private snow-removal firms, says his insurance costs have gone up 200 per cent.

"We've had to substantially jack up our prices, and it's all to do with the slip-and-fall liabilities," he said, adding that rates are going up by 25 per cent to 100 per cent industry-wide.

Mr. Wilton said the average contract for a house driveway runs from $300 to $800 for the year, whether it snows or not. Apartment buildingsnow cost around $6,000 to $7,000.
 

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Same problem here. Every year I end up spending the time that I should be getting new accounts trying to get my GL policy. I'm always scared putting in bids not knowing what my insurance is going to cost, or if I will even get it at all. It always comes down to the last second before I find someone who will write it. Being fairly new in this business, this is definately the biggest challenge that I deal with every year.
 

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It's only going to get worse.
Their was a speaker at the SIMA symposium in Buffalo, said that 5 years ago there were like 25 co.s that would insure snow contracts, there were now like 5 or somthing. He said problem is that property managers (in THEIR contracts), put all the liability on contractor, when it may even be out of scope of contract, & contractor don't know any better & sign. Insurance co's get stuck paying.
So whats the solution, we as an industry need to be more educated. Will this happen? probably not, to many one man "plow jockey's" with no insurance. I think the solution is to go after accounts that ask for certificates, explain you prices & the state the industry is begining to face. Until we can educate the responsible clients & property managers, were all screwed. Even then who knows?
Personally I think the towns or some form of goverment needs to step in & sell permits for that business to operate within that area, if your caught with out one, you get a big fine. To get permit you need to show proof of insurance (auto, liabity & comp.). I know for a contractor to get a permit (building), the
towns (or city) in this area must have certificates on file. I think somthing similiar to this, instead of a paper you put in the window(at building), a sticker to go on each truck. Maybe even different colors for different insurance levels?
 

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That's it Mike,there has to be something done.We were discussing the same thing the other day,regarding permits and proof of insurance.It would be nice to see the insurance companies who insure the businesses we plow,start demanding proof of insurance from the snow plow contractor.That would put a lot of lowballers out of business,in the commercial market at least.
 

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Here's an idea, and I apologize if someone has suggested it before. Why don't we form a Snowplow Mutual. Just like doctors groups have formed their own bedpan mutual insurance companies, we could do the same. I, like the rest of you, am tired of being extorted by insurance companies.

Granted we would need quite of bit of start-up capital, but it could be done.

Any thoughts?
 

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I believe Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association may be doing just that in the very near future. Studies are in progress now.
 

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What Type do i need

I have been told all sorts of thing about insurance.. So there is Auto, GL and CGL.

Here's the deal.. I want to snowplow for a company what do i need ? I was told GL is what i need it covers my truck with a blade on it and any damadge i do and or protection from slip and falls. CGL I run my own bussiness i have my own contracts protects damadge my company does, protects from slip and falls and covers my truck.

Do i need Auto insurane and a GL policy to plow for someone else ? Do i need CGL and Auto to plow for myself ?

Lay it all out... :confused:
 

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Re: What Type do i need

Snowboy said:
I have been told all sorts of thing about insurance.. So there is Auto, GL and CGL.

Here's the deal.. I want to snowplow for a company what do i need ? I was told GL is what i need it covers my truck with a blade on it and any damadge i do and or protection from slip and falls. CGL I run my own bussiness i have my own contracts protects damadge my company does, protects from slip and falls and covers my truck.

Do i need Auto insurane and a GL policy to plow for someone else ? Do i need CGL and Auto to plow for myself ?

Lay it all out... :confused:
You Need Auto and GL policy.
 

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Re: Re: What Type do i need

Adams Plowing said:
You Need Auto and GL policy.
Your General Liability needs to specify the types of accounts you will be plowing. If your policy is for "Residential" and you plow an apartment parking lot, you may not be covered. Make sure to check with your agent. If you get a new account after your insurance policy is written, notify your agent.

Auto insurance needs to be "Commercial Vehicle Insurance".
 

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Insurance is what will start to separate the boys from the men in this business. Give it five years and I think we'll see a dramatic shift in the way businesses have to operate.

Mike's points about educating our customers is a very smart suggestion. As well, it might be worth lobbying your local municipalities to start asking for certificates of insurance. Several cities around me require permits to plow, but they don't ask for insurance... it begs the questions of what is the point?

SIMA is aware of the problem. Rick Lenth is the chair of the SIMA Insurance Committee and they have been working on the problem for the last two years. If you would like to be a part of the process and do what you can for the industry, contact SIMA and/or Rick Lenth and find out how you can help out on his committee. It's a slow process.

The industry needs to take care of itself the best we can. It's easy to sit here and moan about our insurance issues expecting the problem to resolve itself. I realize the practical difficulties we all face with insurance. However, there are small things on a grass roots level we can all do to educate our customers and the local governments. Getting involved with SIMA is also a good place to start. Even for one truck operators, SIMA is a tremendous benefit. This is not a shameless plug for SIMA. I'm simply explaining that SIMA is the best organization at the moment to represent the interests of the snow industry. Landscape Ontario has made tremendous strides in addressing the problems in Canada. I certainly hope they are effective in changing the business climate north of the border.

One thing some of you might consider doing is moving your policy date forward to July or August of each year. At least then you will know in advance what kind of trouble you're going to have with insurance and what your pricing will be for the season.
 

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insurance

The next time you have a question about the amount of your insurance bill, you need to call your insurance company and ask to speak to "the vice president of overcharging " . I know every insurance company has one . :mad:
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'm happy to say that I just got coverage from State Farm. It turned out to less than what I was paying before. :)

Ray
 
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