IPSSA may be coming soon to a town near you.
Propelled by a revamped benefits package and burgeoning membership throughout the Sunbelt, the Independent Pool & Spa Service Association is setting its sights on several new markets across the country, among them Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah.
“We’re looking forward to branching out into these other states as soon as possible,” said Phil Sharp, director of IPSSA Region 9, which covers Texas. “I’m anticipating having some of these chapters up and running by the end of November.”
IPSSA, which traces its origins back to 1961, maintains 95 chapters in six states: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Texas. Its presence in the Sunshine State continues to grow, and now includes Sarasota, as well as a pending chapter in the Orlando suburb of Longwood.
The nearly 4,000-member organization also recently modified its insurance requirements, which could further open the door to new regions, Sharp said.
Arrow Insurance Service, based in Simi Valley, Calif., remains the group’s endorsed provider. But a new association policy that took effect in June allows IPSSA members the option of purchasing general liability insurance from other carriers.
Members previously were required to carry $1 million in liability coverage from Arrow. That meant the company’s owner, Ray Arouesty, had to be licensed to sell insurance in any state that had a chapter. And because Arrow’s IPSSA policy charges a flat fee per employee, it wasn’t always cost-effective for larger companies, or those with multiple part-time workers, Arouesty said.
Nor was it necessarily worthwhile for Arouesty to spend weeks, or months, getting licensed with the department of insurance in a state with a sparser pool presence.
But IPSSA’s new regulations, which also allow Arouesty to offer larger companies stand-alone policies, mean inroads now may be forged in more populous metropolitan areas, said Todd Starner, director of IPSSA Region 11.
“I can go after those companies that aren’t just one and two guys,” he said. “In metro Atlanta, for example, some of these folks run a dozen or more employees out of one operation. So in the past, taking into account our insurance, it wasn’t always feasible for them to join. But now we can go into some of these particular areas that we used to not consider.”