September 28, 2012 Interviews Jeff Powell, President of NHSCA

August 7, 2012

Back in April published an interview with Counsel for the National Home Service Contract Association (NHSCA), Art Chartrand. In today’s piece we meet the President of that same association. On behalf of First American Home Buyers Protection Jeff Powell is the current President of the NHSCA and I recently talked with him about his duties, the association, and its work. Thanks to Jeff for his time and for sharing more information about the association with readers who visit this website.

What are your duties as President?

My company, as a member of the NHSCA, actually holds the position and I represent them as the appointed person to fulfill the responsibilities given to the sitting NHSCA President. My role is mainly to facilitate, escalate, and prioritize the relevant issues the industry is facing among the association members. All of the member companies are represented by leaders who are highly experienced and engaged professionals in our industry. So the role of the President may imply a greater authority than the other members, but someone must be the one to press everyone to make decisions on issues and move on to new business.

How long do you hold this position? When is the next President appointed and how?

It’s a two year term. The most recent appointment was made at our annual meeting in Chicago this spring. The next President will be decided by nomination and vote by the members, with the likely successor being the current Vice President.

As President do you have a particular role in deciding or vetting new member applications from home service contract companies?

A new member committee decides on applications. That committee seeks to recruit new member companies and also handles the vetting process with new member applications. This process involves all the member companies giving feedback on a company that applies for membership in the association This vetting helps to demonstrate to homeowners which companies are operating legitimately and have the reputation that would best represent the industry’s best practices.

The member companies of the NHSCA include some big company names, your own company included of course. Is there any threshold in terms of customers served, contractor networks, or other company-size-criteria that would limit membership in the NHSCA?

No, there are no specific criteria but the majority of the major players in this industry are already members of the association. Smaller companies benefit though by being members and are welcomed if they meet the standards set by the group members. The experience and resources that the collective companies bring to the association are a great help to the companies that become members. This type of investment of financial and human resources, in the end, benefits the entire industry and that is the goal of the NHSCA.

Some service contracts these days are very specific in terms of what items in or around a residential property are covered. Are there limitations on what sorts of companies can become members of the NHSCA where specific service contracts are concerned, public utility water or sewer line service contracts for example?

The association would consider on a case by case basis any company that applies for membership. The ultimate decision relies mostly on whether the contract the company provides fits the definition of a home service contract. If the answer is yes then the company would be considered for membership.

In a press release this summer there was mention of a numeric coding system for the NHSCA’s member companies. This system seems like a great resource for home owners trying to verify that a home service contract company isn’t a look alike or sound-alike-company-name. Where exactly do your member companies display their NHSCA member number?

The member companies will each decide their own way of displaying the membership information, member number, NHSCA logo, etc. The association is more focused on cooperation than dictating to members how to represent their membership but most members will likely make their NHSCA member information available in their online and offline consumer-facing literature.

There was an article published online back in May in which you commented on the situation with shortages of the old coolants commonly referred to as R-22. For readers who are not familiar with the challenges that HVAC technicians have today getting sufficient amounts of R-22 refrigerants, can you please shed some light on how the changes with the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations affect home owners whose cooling systems use those older refrigerants? How does having a home service contract pay off if a home owner needs repairs to the cooling system that require recharging with R-22 refrigerants?

The price of R-22 has increased significantly which has led to increased costs to repair air conditioners. A home service contract helps protect homeowners from these additional costs.