Posts Tagged ‘HomeServe’

September 26, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions on Water Service Line Coverage Available through HomeServe

I thought DMWW owned the service line.  Why would I pay for something the water utility is responsible for?

Many customers don’t realize the entire exterior water service line that connects your home with Des Moines Water Works’ water main is your responsibility as a homeowner. If you were unfortunate enough to suffer a break in this line, or discover an inoperable shutoff valve, it would be up to you to find a plumber and face potentially costly repairs. For more information on homeowners’ responsibilities, please visit Service Line Overview.

Why offer this program?

Utility staff recognized the need to explore offering a service line maintenance program for two reasons.  Primarily, warranty companies, including HomeServe USA (HomeServe) and their competitors, were already soliciting customers in the Des Moines market. However, because these companies were not working in collaboration with DMWW and didn’t necessarily understand the customer’s responsibility for their service line, those program offerings did not offer adequate coverage that would best meet our customers’ needs. For example, no unaffiliated program offered coverage of the external shut-off valve (stopbox), which accounts for about 75% of our customers’ repairs.  Customers were purchasing coverage that was not necessarily well-suited for their needs. Secondly, Des Moines Water Works staff speaks with customers weekly who have difficulty funding the unexpected expenses that come with a service line leak or inoperable stopbox. These customers are looking for options to help manage their risk related to their water service line.

What process did Des Moines Water Works go through to select HomeServe?

The utility sent a Request for Proposal to several companies in 2012, and after a thorough review of responses, Des Moines Water Works selected HomeServe as the utility’s recommended provider. Utility staff worked diligently with HomeServe to customize a program that offers comprehensive coverage at a price of $3.99 per month. The HomeServe program covers repairs to the shut-off valve (stop box), and in addition, has no coverage limits or deductibles like many plans have. Prices have been established for five years, with the rate in the fifth year of the contract being $4.99 per month. Des Moines Water Works is not aware of any program that matches this program’s benefits and price.

I’ve heard HomeServe has a negative BBB rating.

As part of Des Moines Water Works’ due diligence, staff thoughtfully considered BBB information for all companies submitting proposals, and found both positive and negative ratings specifically for HomeServe. Staff found the negative ratings stemmed from the company’s marketing practices in areas where the company did not collaborate with the local utility, causing confusion with the utility’s customers. DMWW staff is directly involved in the development and approval of the marketing materials to ensure customers are aware the program is optional and to ensure coverage and costs are clearly stated. It is important to note that HomeServe’s BBB rating is currently an A-.

Who pays for marketing?

HomeServe pays for all marketing materials. Des Moines Water Works’ contract allows four mailings to be sent per year. Des Moines Water Works staff participates with HomeServe in the development of the mailings and approves the materials before they are mailed to customers. Customers are able to opt out of mailings by contacting HomeServe at 1-855-695-1493.

How many DMWW customers have signed up for the program?

About one in four customers have chosen to enroll in the optional program, and while staff has not spoken with every customer who has made a claim, several customers we have spoken with have related positive experiences.

How many customers really experience service line issues?

The table below shows the number of external shut-off valve repairs and the number of water service leak repairs Des Moines Water Works has coordinated with customers each of the last ten years.

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Valve Repairs

411

763

677

504

868

1,008

917

644

555

581

Leak Repairs

180

187

137

86

132

143

176

146

163

154

Total Repairs

591

950

814

590

1,000

1,151

1,093

790

718

735

 

Isn’t this just a way for Des Moines Water Works to make money?

Des Moines Water Works receives a 5% billing re-imbursement fee from HomeServe for each new enrollment that covers the cost of billing on DMWW’s monthly statement. The primary objective in offering this program is to provide an optional service to customers—not for the revenue.

Why don’t you offer sewer line coverage?

Des Moines Water Works offers its customers this optional coverage for water service line. Sewer line coverage is available through HomeServe, but because Des Moines Water Works is not affiliated with that product in any manner and has not reviewed the plan in terms of coverage, cost, exclusions, etc., we do not endorse it.  In addition, the cost for sewer line coverage or any other product offered by HomeServe is not available for billing on your monthly DMWW bill.

Who is eligible to enroll in the program?

  • Single-family residents in the City of Des Moines and Des Moines Water Works’ total service areas
  • Landlords with sole responsibility for the water service line, which may support up to six residential units.

Residences not affixed to a permanent foundation, recreational vehicles and properties used for commercial purposes are not eligible for coverage.

What is covered by the program?

You will be covered for qualified costs to repair or replace the broken or leaking exterior water service line, from the water meter inside your home to the Des Moines Water Works water main, including the cost to repair the exterior shut-off valve. This includes all service call charges, labor and materials for covered repairs, and basic restoration.

If I have a meter pit what is covered by the program?

The line is covered from the main to the where the line enters the primary residence on the property.  Repairs to the pit itself are not covered by the program.

Who will be doing the work?

HomeServe contracts with local, licensed and qualified plumbers.

In the event of a home emergency, just call HomeServe toll-free at 1-855-695-1493. A local, licensed and insured plumber will be dispatched to your home to make your repair or replacement. Once covered repairs are completed, just sign the repair form and HomeServe pays the plumber directly for you.

How do I enroll in the program?

You can contact HomeServe directly at 1-855-695-1493 or visit HomeServe

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 2 Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers May 13, 2013

Water Service Line Coverage FAQ

Des Moines Water Works is pleased to offer a low-cost water service line coverage program now available through HomeServe. This coverage offers protection for water service line breaks for single-family residents in the City of Des Moines and Des Moines Water Works’ total service areas. This program is voluntary and offers customers additional choices. The decision to participate is entirely yours.

QHomeServe DMWW Coverage: What am I responsible for?
A:  As a homeowner, you are responsible for your water service line, from Des Moines Water Works water main to the water meter inside your home. The decision to insure this risk is entirely yours.

Q: How does the coverage plan work?
A:  Step 1:  In the event of a home emergency, just call HomeServe toll-free at 1-855-695-1493.
Step 2:  A local, licensed and insured plumber will be dispatched to your home to make your repair or replacement.
Step 3:  Once covered repairs are completed, just sign the repair form and HomeServe pays the plumber directly for you.

Q: What is included in the Water Service Line Coverage Plan?
A:  You will be covered for qualified costs to repair or replace the broken or leaking exterior water service line, from the water meter inside your home to the Des Moines Water Works water main, including the cost to repair the exterior shut-off valve. This includes all service call charges, labor and materials for covered repairs, and basic restoration – so you’ll have no bill to pay for covered repairs. HomeServe coverage also covers situations where a customer’s meter is located in an outside meter pit, covering the line from DMWW’s main to the point where the line enters the building.

Q: How much does it cost and where do I send my payment?
A:  The coverage costs $3.99 a month. Customers who sign up will be billed directly on their monthly Des Moines Water Works bill.

Q: How can I obtain more information and/or purchase the HomeServe policy?
A:  You can contact HomeServe directly at 1-855-695-1493 or visit Des Moines Water Works’ HomeServe page.

Posted by: Amy Kahler No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers March 5, 2013

Des Moines Water Works Announces Water Service Line Coverage Offered through HomeServe

Des Moines Water Works is pleased to announce a low-cost water service line coverage program now available through HomeServe USA (HomeServe). This optional coverage offers protection for water service line breaks for single-family residents in the City of Des Moines and Des Moines Water Works’ total service areas.

“Many customers don’t realize the entire exterior water service line that connects your home with Des Moines Water Works’ water main is your responsibility as a homeowner,” said Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager, Des Moines Water Works.  “If you were unfortunate enough to suffer a break in this line, or discover an inoperable shutoff valve, it would be up to you to find a plumber and face potentially costly repairs.”

Having trouble viewing the video? Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VcPKu5GWhE

To provide homeowners with an option, Des Moines Water Works has selected HomeServe to provide homeowners with a plan that protects them from costs associated with repairs to their water service line. After a thorough evaluation process, the coverage provided by HomeServe was determined to be the most comprehensive coverage and tailored for Des Moines Water Works’ customers.

“You may receive offers from other companies – but unlike this coverage offered by HomeServe, those offers are not customized for Des Moines Water Works’ customers, nor recommended by Des Moines Water Works,” said Stowe. “Des Moines Water Works is pleased to offer this optional coverage as a service to our customers.”

HomeServe policyholders will have an Emergency Repair Hotline that is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to bring local, licensed and insured plumbing contractors right to their home for repairs. The plan includes locating, excavating and repairing or replacing the damaged water pipe.

“This program can save you a significant amount of money, as a service line replacement can cost thousands of dollars. It can also save you the time and inconvenience of finding a qualified plumber, which can be difficult in the best of times, let alone in an emergency,” said Tom Rusin, HomeServe Chief Executive Officer. “Having this program also eliminates worry, as you can be sure the job is professionally completed by a local, licensed and insured Des Moines area plumber.”

Des Moines Water Works has secured this optional policy coverage at an affordable price of $3.99 per month, which will be conveniently billed on Des Moines Water Works’ monthly statement. For more information on the program or to register for coverage, call TOLL-FREE 1-855-695-1493 or visit Des Moines Water Works’ HomeServe page.

Posted by: Amy Kahler No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers February 3, 2012

Do I Need Water Service Line Coverage?

Des Moines area residents may recently have received a letter from HomeServe, a company offering water service line coverage.  Although Des Moines Water Works believes such a service could be of value to our customers and we are, in fact, in the process of creating a program that we could recommend to our customers, Des Moines Water Works does not endorse HomeServe at this time and did not provide any customer information to the company.

The letter correctly states the property owner is responsible for the water service line from the main to your home or business, which includes the stopbox.  Leaks in the service line or an inoperable stopbox can be expensive to repair, which is why DMWW is researching solutions for customers who wish to protect themselves from the risks associated with their water service line.  In our research, we have found most plans offer only limited coverage and do not cover all aspects of the service line, such as an inoperable stopbox.  We are thoroughly researching service providers and plans and will select a partner we can recommend only after a thorough and rigorous review of the company’s qualifications and services.  We anticipate a program that DMWW can fully endorse will be available to our customers later this year.

“Before selecting any service provider or coverage, we encourage customers to ask questions specifically related to the coverage offered to ensure it covers the service line from the tap to the home or business, including the stopbox, and to be sure the offer is made by a reputable company,” said Randy Beavers, CEO and General Manager.

DMWW considers ourselves your partner in ensuring you receive a quality product and service for all aspects of your water service, and we take very seriously our mission to provide responsive services that provide high value to our customers.  We cannot affirm that HomeServe’s offering meets this high standard.

If you have any questions, please contact Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8700.

Posted by: Amy Kahler 6 Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Customer Service