“Many human beings say that they enjoy the winter, but what they really enjoy is feeling proof against it.”
― Richard Adams
“Winter is not a season, it's an occupation.”
― Sinclair Lewis
Snow is here. I know that’s tough to read, but there you have it. Unfortunately, this also means we have to find a place to pile up all the white stuff.
Like most property owners or managers, you may outsource this task to a professional snow removal service, and that means another work order or contract to sign. In addition to schedules and cost, you will want to make sure you are factoring in good risk management practices into the agreement.
Here are three items to consider incorporating into your agreement with a snow removal service.
Additional Insured Status - Having the plow service add you as an additional insured party on their General Liability and Commercial Auto policies is one of the easiest ways to transfer the risk inherent of plows operating on your premise. Should a third party make a claim against you as the property owner for injury or property damage caused by the plow, you would be able to seek coverage and defense under the plow service’s policy.
Ongoing and Completed Operations - It is important to confirm that the plow service you hired has coverage while they are plowing (ongoing operations) and after they finished the job (completed operations). Coverage for ongoing operations is pretty self-explanatory, but you may not have considered the risk posed by the completed work: the big pile of snow. If the service piled snow against a fence or wall, the continuous pressure could end up causing serious property damage. You’ll want coverage for that.
Confirm Basic Coverage - When you review the plow service’s insurance coverage, you want to make sure they have the basic policies in place. The most important are general liability, auto liability, and worker’s compensation. If the service is missing one or more of these coverages, you could find yourself on the hook for a loss caused by the plowing operations. In addition to these three coverages, an umbrella liability policy of any size is always helpful.
How do you know your plowing service meets your insurance requirements? Ask for a simple certificate of liability insurance. This document will provide you with a snapshot of the coverages I mentioned above. Your service team at HJI can advise you on the acceptability of any certificate you receive.
We have the whole winter ahead of us and a ton of snow to get out of the way. With the help of HJI’s risk management experts, you can at least make sure your plow service doesn’t become another seasonal hazard.