Tomasz Zajda | adobe stock

Can a pest control company offer a property owner a mosquito-free property? Well, I have four welts on the back of my leg, and. these red islands are skin infernos that are screaming two things: First, “Scratch me!” and second, “It’s unreasonable to require a mosquito-free property.”

Now, let’s put this scenario in the context of a property owner requiring a snow and ice management contractor to guarantee in writing an ice-free premise. This type of promise would make a property safe and free from all potential slip-and-fall risks.

You know where I’m going with this, right?

At times, snow contractors have entertained requests to accept contracts that guarantee slip-free environments. This bold obligation is a tall order to achieve under normal conditions, not to mention during an extreme weather event.

Insurance is not designed to be a warranty for poor workmanship. And insurance was never intended to fulfill every outrageous promise that someone could agree to in a service contract.

Industry Standards dub the term “slip-free condition” as not realistic or not a reasonable property condition. Furthermore, the standards state, it is impossible to achieve the bare and wet pavement at all times and under all conditions. These types of definitions spotlight the unachievable expectations that are out there in the world. They also exist to help snow contractors and property owners develop reasonable service expectations.

A property owner or manager who requests ice-free guarantees, and a snow contractor who can guarantee that level of service, should instead agree to a more realistic contract. Perhaps both can use the Industry Standards definitions to build a more reasonable and realistic winter contract. Again, reasonable is the key word and it should be applied liberally to the affected areas.

Matthew J. Peterson is president of Mills Insurance Group in Marlton, NJ. He's a frequent Snow Magazine contributor.