the insured to have a claim they aren’t covered for in these instances. Indus- try-specific insurance companies will provide these coverages, whereas some of those less expensive companies in- sure tree care companies but may ex- clude specific exposures from the poli- cy,” says Blackman. Scenarios like these include a claim as a result of overspray, or when an arborist makes a recommen- dation that proved to not be the case and resulted in an unexpected outcome. The claims like these might not rock a busi- ness financially, but for the sake of man- aging budget, the coverages are worth discussing with an insurance provider. TIPS FOR BEST RATES There are plenty of things a tree care company can do to secure the best rates possible, and a great insurance partner will work with you to find those rates, but it’s important to note that the insur- ance industry is entering a hard market. This means rates are going up for rea- sons out of a company’s control.
happens, and having the appropriate coverage will help recoup the losses associated with these incidents if they do happen. Additionally, directors and officers lia- bility can protect companies from the exposure of corporate decisions. “One claim I’ve seen was for unfair compe- tition when a company hiring an em- ployee from a competitor resulted in a large swath of work coming with them,” recalls Shipp. “If your business is found to be unfair competition, there can be some big dollars behind that.” These types of coverages aren’t widely adopt- ed by companies in the tree care indus- try simply due to the lack of education behind it, and a good insurance partner will help with the education piece so that a company owner can make sound business decisions. Coverages directly related to tree work include pesticide/herbicide applicator coverage and arborist professional lia- bility. “Unfortunately, it’s common for
Property, equipment and auto cov- erages are seeing increased rates. “Nearly all insurance companies are currently losing money on commercial auto insurance, this will continue to drive rates up,” says Blackman. Shipp echoes, “Auto is not profitable for most insurers. The more a company can do to get their hands around their auto risk, the better.” This includes creating well-established driver criteria, check- ing motor vehicle reports (MVR), driver testing as a condition of employment, eliminating distractions and ongoing monitoring of driver behavior. With the appropriate forms, insurers will pull an MVR for new employees, although company owners can proac- tively do these and might even consid- er doing them periodically throughout the year. “A new employee creates more liability for your company if they are a poor driver than when they’re op- erating equipment or climbing a tree,” suggests Rook. “One wrong move with a vehicle of that size at an intersection
44 | ArborTIMES Winter 2023
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