The Independent Pool & Spa Service Association is making waves in the Southeast, adding three Florida chapters and acquiring insurance licensing in Georgia.

“Florida is starting to take off on its own. We’ve gone from Tampa to Naples, and now we’re working the I-4 corridor and up through Jacksonville and St. Augustine,” said Todd Starner, president of the IPSSA Manasota Chapter.

Starner is helping organize the new IPSSA chapters with IPSSA Past-President Jim Romanowski. With chapters already established in Manasota (Tampa Bay area), Osceola (Orlando area), Gold Coast (Miami area) and Cape Coral, interest started to build in the northern part of the state.

With a chapter officially established in Venice, IPSSA also is planning to start up in the Jacksonville and Tallahassee areas.

“We’re really close; it’s a day-to-day [process],” Romanowski said.

IPSSA initially moved into Florida in early 2006 and, together with Texas, formed the group’s Region 9. However, a new Region 11 for Florida has been approved by members, while Texas would remain in Region 9. The official region could materialize as early as October, according to Romanowski.

The group also became licensed in Georgia to help grow the new Florida chapters. Many service technicians who work on Florida pools actually live in Georgia.

Though the group could legally move into the Peach State, it doesn’t plan to form chapters there immediately.

“We’re not really planning on marketing extensively [in Georgia]; it’s more to facilitate those northern Florida chapters,” explained Ray Arouesty, whose Arrow Insurance Services firm represents IPSSA members.

Still, the move allows IPSSA the option to expand into Georgia if there’s enough interest.

IPSSA started in 1961, providing independent service techs sick-route coverage, insurance and other benefits. The group has chapters in California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas and Florida.