If you’re in the northeastern United States, there are two certainties. First, it’s going to be cold. Second? You’re going to see snow. Lots of it. But you already know this. Knee-deep or even waist-deep snow is just a reality, thanks to the unique combination of latitude, altitude, and location between the ocean and the Great Lakes.
That said, if you’re a property manager or owner of a business, you also know just how much of a hassle it is to deal with all of the white stuff. Keeping parking lots, walkways, and even your facility roofs clear of snow is a necessity, because you know that a car sliding on ice, a slip and fall accident, or a roof faltering under the weight of snow are all threats to your business.
Harder yet, if you run a finance or real estate business, you’re probably not managing a single location. In fact, you might be spread across multiple cities, counties, or even states. Keeping one location maintained is tough, but keeping every single location clear of ice and snow and safe for your employees and customers is a herculean task. So what should you look out for?
Keeping a Clear Path: Snow Removal
The first and most pressing area is likely the one that you have to take care of multiple times each snowstorm. Plowing parking lots, shoveling and salting sidewalks, it’s a constant battle to ensure that people can safely get in and out of your facility. Knowing this, you need to have a plan each time snow is in the forecast, whether each location is in charge of self-removal or the job is contracted out.
For those businesses who perform self-removal, everyone needs to know their role. We highly recommend you maintain a Snow Plow Log, a Sidewalk Snow Removal Log, and a Complaint Log to track snow removal (and failure to remove). You can access this in our Real Estate Loss Control Toolbox.
For those who contract out the job—something much more likely for multi-location businesses—it’s a top priority that every single detail is in writing with contractors. In our Snow Removal Best Practices Guide, we highlight a variety of important caveats you may forget when working with a snow removal contractor. It pays to ask yourself the following:
- Is your snow removal agreement as long as it needs to be? With snowfall possible seven months a year, having a timeframe in place with your contractors is necessary. It pays to be ready for an April or October snowfall, and this should be written into your agreement.
- How specific are the duties? Another area of focus should be the responsibilities of the contractors. How often should they show up? Who’s in charge of the sidewalks? Where can they plow the snow? Defining everything is necessary, and providing a schematic can help confirm and clarify the respective roles and responsibilities.
- Are you protected from contractor failures? Be sure to have a signed written contract in place before any work commences. The contract should have appropriate risk transfer provisions such as hold harmless, indemnity and insurance requirements. You should also obtain certificates of insurance from contractors, and require that contractors name you as an additional insured on their general liability and commercial auto insurance policies.
- Are your contractors meeting your expectations? You have a reasonable expectation that if a contract is in place, your contractors will fulfill their obligations. Your agreement with your contractors should include provision requiring that a snow log/ sidewalk log be kept by them and their subcontractors, if any.
Acadia Insurance: Peace of Mind for Finance and Real Estate Companies
Whether you run a local bank or own a realty company, you have a lot on your plate. Worrying about your insurance shouldn’t be one of them. Acadia Insurance can offer a comprehensive insurance program to help protect your business in the event of a covered loss. We work with a variety of businesses like yours to deliver a complete line of insurance products tailored to the unique needs of your industry.
Spring is Right around the Corner: Know What to Do after the Thaw
While we may still have two months of cold weather and a fair amount of freezing and thawing cycles ahead, spring will come. Learn some of the key steps to prepare your business for spring and summer in our article, After the Thaw, 6 Tips for Commercial Property Maintenance.
Get to know more about our services for banks, real estate businesses and other commercial building owners by contacting your local Acadia insurance agent. Existing customers can contact our loss control team for more tips and information at [email protected]. .
Acadia is pleased to share this material for the benefit of its customers. Please note, however, that nothing herein should be construed as either legal advice or the provision of professional consulting services. This material is for informational purposes only, and while reasonable care has been utilized in compiling this information, no warranty or representation is made as to accuracy or completeness.