Faqs

How long has the company been in business?

Program

How are our citizens notified of the program?
What cooperation will be needed from the cities?
When do you solicit residents?
Does NLC or USP sell or rent the personal information of residents that enroll in the program?

Benefits

How much will residents save by using this warranty?
Will this program cost the city any money?
What benefits does the city receive from endorsing these programs?

Responsibilities

Who administers the program?
What are the city’s responsibilities?
Why does the city have to provide a city seal, address and signature?
Will we get a lot of calls from citizens when they get the letter?

Products

How will citizens know what is covered?
What items are included as part of the warranty?
What are the event caps for the warranty? What are the annual caps per household?
The coverage cap looks adequate, but is there an annual or lifetime restriction on how much you will pay to repair?
Doesn’t homeowner’s insurance cover this type of repair?
Who replaces landscaping if damaged?
What building codes will you adhere to?

Customer Service

Will a citizen have a long hold time when reporting a claim?
Will the customer always get a live operator when they call?
What is the claims process?

Contractors

Who performs the repair work?
How selective are you when choosing contractors to conduct repairs?


 

UTILITY SERVICE PARTNERS

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How long has the company been in business?
The company has its roots in 1998 when it was originally formed as Columbia Service Partners (CSP), a part of the gas utility Columbia Energy, to provide service line warranties for its utility customers.  In September 2003, CSP management acquired the company from Columbia Energy and Utility Service Partners (USP) was formed.  SLWP continued to expand and grow the business through city and utility partnerships and in 2010 became the official administrator of the National League of Cities Service Line Warranty Program.  In July 2016, SWLP was acquired by HomeServe USA.

PROGRAM

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How are our citizens notified of the program?
The program mails homeowners an educational outreach letter explaining their service line responsibility and offering an optional repair service program.  All homeowners are eligible to enroll in the program, regardless of the age of their residence.

What cooperation will be needed from the cities?
NLC SWLP desires to enter into a co-branded marketing services agreement with each city. The agreement provides for the use of the city name/logo, in conjunction with USP’s logo, on marketing materials sent to citizens. The city is endorsing NLC SWLP as the service provider for the warranty program.

When do you reach out to residents?
We have found the optimal outreach times are in the spring and fall of each year.

Does NLC or HomeServe sell or rent the personal information of residents that enroll in the program?
No. Neither the NLC nor HomeServe will sell or rent the names of prospective customers or participants.

BENEFITS

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How much will residents save by using this warranty program?
While costs of water line and sewer line repairs can very, the average cost of repairing a broken water line or sewer line is approximately $500. Replacing a water or sewer line is much more expensive, potentially costing thousands of dollars, depending on the extent of the work, layout of the home and region.

Will this program cost the city any money?
No. The program covers all costs of educational outreach, service delivery and program administration. Furthermore, the city receives a royalty for each resident participating in the program!

What benefit does the city receive from endorsing this program?
By endorsing the program, the municipality is able to reduce residents’ frustration over utility line failures by bringing them low-cost service options. The program also generates extra revenue for the municipality through the royalty that is paid to the city for each resident participating. Finally, the program helps to stimulate the local economy through the use of local-area contractors to complete the repairs.

RESPONSIBILITIES

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Who administers the program?
NLC Service Line Warranty Program by HomeServe administers the program and is responsible for all aspects of the program, including marketing, billing, customer service, and performing all repairs to local code using local licensed and approved contractors.

What are the municipality’s responsibilities?
We ask each municipality to provide: 1) a copy of the city seal, if available, for the educational outreach communication, 2) the municipality’s return address for the outer envelope (this ensures a high “open-rate”), 3) the name, title and signature sample of the designated signor, and 4) the appropriate zip codes of the city to allow us to purchase a mailing list of the residents.

Why does the city have to provide a city seal, address and signature?
We have found that while the letter is written in such a manner as to leave no doubt that it is a separate program (the Program logo is on the enrollment form), the municipality address drives a very high “open-rate” and the seal and signature lend credibility to the offer, thus driving a much higher enrollment rate.

Will we get a lot of calls from citizens when they get the letter?
A press release provided by the program and issued prior to the first mailing will help alleviate citizen concerns, which should result in nominal calls to the municipality.

PRODUCTS

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How will citizens know what is covered?
All customers receive a set of terms and conditions upon enrollment in repair plan. They have 30 days from the date of enrollment to cancel and receive a full refund.

What items are included as part of the warranty?
The external water and/or sewer line warranty covers the underground service line from the foundation of the home to the point where the line becomes the utility’s responsibility. If any part of the line is broken and/or leaking, the program will repair or replace the line in order to restore the service (including clearing tree roots from the water or sewer line).

What are the event caps for the warranty? What are the annual caps per household?
The warranty covers up to $8,500 per occurrence. There are no annual or lifetime caps for coverage. Coverage is provided on a per-incident basis and all work is warranted for one year. It has been our experience that these coverage caps will more than adequately provide coverage 99.9% of the time. In the rare instance that the repair is greater than the coverage provided, we will work closely with the contractor to provide the homeowner the additional work at a discounted cost.

Please note – some cities require special coverage caps to reflect local conditions. Please contact NLC SWLP to determine if such special caps are needed in your city.

The coverage cap looks adequate, but is there an annual or lifetime restriction on how much you will pay to repair?
No. Unlike some other warranties available, we provide you with the full coverage per incident. We will pay up to your coverage amount each and every time you need us. We do not deduct prior repair expense from your coverage cap or limit the amount we will pay annually.

Doesn’t homeowner’s insurance cover this type of repair?
Typically, no. Most homeowner policies will pay to repair the damage created by failed utility lines but they generally do not pay to repair the actual broken pipes or lines. We encourage you to call your insurance company to determine your actual coverage.

Who replaces landscaping if damaged?
The NLC Service Line Warranty Program will provide basic restoration to the site. This includes filling in the holes, mounding the trench (to allow for settling) and raking and seeding the affected area. Restoration does not include replacing trees or shrubs or repairing private paved/concrete surfaces. This is outlined in the terms and conditions sent to the customer.

What building codes will you adhere to?
If the line is broken and leaking, the program will repair or replace the leaking portion of the line according to the current code. However, the program is not responsible for bringing lines that are not in need of repair up to code.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

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Will a citizen have a long hold time when reporting a claim?
No. Repair calls receive the highest priority and are answered 24/7/365 by live agents.

Will the customer always get a live operator when they call?
Yes. Customers are directed to select to speak with either a service or claims agent and will then be directed to a live agent.

What is the claims process?
The contact center is staffed with live representatives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year to provide exemplary customer service. Customers are provided a dedicated toll-free number to reach HomeServe. After calling to report a home repair emergency, the customer receives a call back from a qualified contractor within two hours to agree upon a convenient time for the contractor to arrive at the home to execute the repair. Once repairs are completed, the homeowner signs off and we pay the contractor directly. Typically, repairs are completed within 24 hours. Emergencies receive priority handling.

CONTRACTORS

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Who performs the repair work?
HomeServe currently manages and deploys over 1,600 independent contractor firms, employing thousands of highly qualified, rigorously vetted service technicians.

How selective are you when choosing contractors to conduct repairs?
HomeServe only selects contractors who share our commitment to excellence in customer service. Scorecards are maintained for each contractor, tracking the customer satisfaction rating for work performed. Customer feedback is shared with our contractors and any contractor with a low customer satisfaction rating is removed from the network.