Kingman Council hears pitch for plumbing insurance

Other cities in Arizona participate in the program

KINGMAN - The City Council could soon give its backing to a company that provides homeowners' insurance against broken plumbing pipes.

Forty percent of homes in the U.S. have pipes that have reached or exceeded their expected lifespan, said Ashley Shiwarski, the business development and inside sales manager for Utility Service Partners.

Shiwarski told five of the seven Council members present Tuesday - Mayor Richard Anderson and Councilwoman Jen Miles had planned absences - said her company provides insurance up to $4,000 to pay for failed exterior pipes, both water and sewer, from when the infrastructure becomes the property owner's responsibility and not the city's, and up to $3,000 for interior pipes. The insurance is good for each incident, not just once a year, and the amount is at the top end of what repairs would cost. There is no deductible.

"The biggest benefit is it raises awareness," said Shiwarsky.

For about $ 250 a year, a homeowner could be completely covered.

The program is managed by Utility Service Partners under the National League of Cities Service Line Warranty Program. The Arizona League of Cities and Towns also endorses the program. Phoenix and Tucson are two of the five communities in Arizona that are members. More than 240 cities have signed on nationwide, said Shiwarski.

If the city backs the program, homeowners will learn about it in the mail via a letter from both the city and Utility Service Partners on the city's letterhead.

Shiwarski said the company holds three campaigns a year, in the spring, fall and winter. She said the company does not use telemarketing.

The city would be provided with the number of customers and claims filed, and the contractors who perform repairs would be thoroughly vetted and strictly local, she said. They must also sign a customer satisfaction agreement to respond to customer calls within 24 hours.

The city will earn a nominal annual fee based on the number of customers, if the Council ultimately agrees to back the company.

City Attorney Carl Cooper said he had not received a copy of the three-year contract. The Council agreed to delay taking action until Cooper reviews the proposal.