Every Day I’m Shoveling

March 25, 2024

If you live in desert or tropical climes, this article is not for you. However, if you own a business or residential property in an area that experiences winter weather, this season adds a burden that needs your attention…..snow removal.

Residential and commercial property owners know the familiar drill after a significant snowfall. It involves either picking up a shovel, starting up the snowblower, or hiring a snowplow service to clear out the driveway or the employee and customer parking lots. Unfortunately, in many instances, the removal effort ends there…and that may represent a shirked responsibility.

Once driveways and lots are clear, many property and business owners forget about sidewalks and other paths used by pedestrians. Besides being a poor neighbor, failure to clear walkways may cause other problems. Snow that hasn’t been removed makes it very difficult for pedestrians to make their way, whether to school, work, or go shopping. It also creates extra danger.

Sidewalks are often close to streets, and snow that is cleared for vehicles is usually piled along walkways. Pedestrians often have to deal with snowfall amounts supplemented by added snow from plows. Pedestrians may be forced to enter the edge of streets to walk, going through road slush and ice while dangerously close to vehicular traffic. It is very important for property owners to clear their adjacent, snow-covered walkways.

Snow removal isn’t just about being a good residential or business neighbor. For many, it’s a legal requirement. Most cities and towns have active ordinances requiring that walkways be cleared for use. Failure to do so may result in warnings and fines. The latter can easily become substantial since they could be fined daily.

Another, more critical, concern is to practice risk management. A pedestrian injured while trying to navigate an obstructed walkway can easily lead to a lawsuit. Why would any reasonable property or business owner want to face such a preventable source of loss voluntarily?

COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2022

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

First Western Insurance Named a Commercial Lines ‘Circle of Excellence Agency’ by Western National Insurance Group

(Minneapolis, Minn.) Western National Insurance Group today announced that First Western Insurance has been named one of Western National’s Commercial Lines Circle of Excellence Agencies for 2024.

The Western National Commercial Lines Circle of Excellence recognition is announced annually to spotlight an elite group of partners who have excelled based on performance and growth over the past five years (2019 – 2023). An agency must also demonstrate that they meet high standards of professional excellence and integrity in order to be considered for this recognition. First Western Insurance’s place among this list is a testament to the overall quality of the agency’s insurance professionals and their commitment to meeting the needs of their insurance clients.

This recognition places First Western Insurance in the 85th percentile of all Western National commercial lines partners for overall performance, growth, and partnership over the past five years.

Western National Insurance, headquartered in Edina, Minn., is a super-regional group of property-and-casualty insurance companies. The Group writes business through five active insurance companies—Western National Mutual Insurance Company, Western National Assurance Company, Pioneer Specialty Insurance Company, Umialik Insurance Company, and American Freedom Insurance Company — and is affiliated with Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company. Together, the affiliated Group writes over $1 billion in personal and commercial direct premium in 20 states across the Northern, Midwestern, and Western U.S. as well as in Alaska; and surety bonds in 43 states. All of the companies’ products are sold exclusively through professional Independent Insurance Agents.



An insurance policy is a promise to protect you against certain types of loss, but it can’t follow through unless it knows about a loss. Prompt notification is so important that it is a formal policy requirement. A policyholder who fails to meet this obligation could have their claim denied.

A policy typically requires you to do the following:

Contact the agent or insurer as quickly as practical – the practical requirement replaced the previous use of “possible,” since some companies unreasonably denied coverage because notification was not instantaneous. The difference between words is important because it allows some flexibility for dealing with circumstances that could affect how quickly you contact your agent or insurer about a loss.

Identify yourself – Perhaps one day your insurer will be able to recognize your voice over the phone and immediately pull up your file. Until then, be prepared to at least tell your insurer your full name (or, if different, the name the insurance policy is under) and the policy number.

Give adequate details – What, When, Where, Why and How. It is important that the insurer has enough information to take proper action. This information allows an insurer to open a claim file, assign the loss to a claims person and begin an investigation of your loss.

Provide copies of loss-related materials to the insurer – You should not guess whether a legal notice or request to be paid for damages is important, even when an actual lawsuit has yet to be filed. Send a copy of the information to your insurer and let them decide.

Complete and quick communication about losses gives you the best chance to get needed coverage and gives your insurer an opportunity to handle a possible claim efficiently. It also allows the insurer to control issues that could let lawsuits get out of control, such as the ability to offer payment for medical expenses or to contact and question witnesses.

Don’t hesitate! Contact your First Western agent and get your loss handled.

COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.2020
All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.