Coles-Moultrie Electrical Cooperative, which has served as a rural community partner for nearly 80 years in Illinois, was exploring options for a warranty program for its members when information on a new National Rural Electric Cooperative Association member – HomeServe USA – arrived.
“After our initial call with HomeServe, we noticed a pattern. We noticed HomeServe’s most important goal was member – customer – satisfaction, much like our cooperative. They went into great detail about all the ways they can help our members, whether it be with an appliance or even wiring in and around the home,” said Samuel Adair, Coles-Moultrie Marketing and Member Services Manager.
Coles-Moultrie was formed in 1938 to serve farmers who otherwise wouldn’t have had electrical service because for-profit corporations wouldn’t undertake the expense of running electrical lines to rural areas. The electrical cooperative is a nonprofit and governed by a board chosen from among its members. NRECA represents the interests of more than 900 electrical cooperatives across the country, and HomeServe is a silver member of the organization.
Coles-Moultrie recently had ended a water heater program the cooperative had offered its members since 1992, and, having spearheaded similar programs during his time at investor-owned utilities, Kim Leftwich, Coles-Moultrie President and Chief Executive Officer, proposed the cooperative look into developing an insurance program.
“As expected, many members were accustomed to the cooperative taking care of this appliance with little to no cost to them, so when this program ended, many members were upset with the fact they no longer had an ‘insurance’ policy on their appliance,” Adair said.
Just as the cooperative began considering its own insurance program, HomeServe USA’s service warranty programs were brought to the board’s attention.
“Our goal with this program is simple,” Adair said. “We want to give our members peace of mind, and we want to supply our members with a program where those who aren’t participating won’t worry about subsidizing other members.”
By partnering with utilities, municipalities and cooperatives across the U.S., HomeServe offers a variety of protection plans that provide coverage for residential electrical lines, water and sewer service lines, gas lines and appliances that aren’t typically covered by homeowner insurance or aren’t the responsibility of the providing utilities.
“There is no cost to the cooperative for this program,” Adair said. “What other program can you say that about? We are now able to provide our members with an insurance program that costs the cooperative nothing and, on top of that, all our Member Service Representatives need relay to the members is a phone number. A benefit to this program is having a program without having to manage a program. “
Coles-Moultrie will apply any benefits the cooperative realizes from its partnership with HomeServe to other programs, such as energy efficiency, with the goal that all program revenue return to its membership through other avenues.
“I believe our lower income members will benefit the most,” Adair said. “No one wants to buy a new (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system when it goes out, but some members financially can’t repair an air conditioning unit if it were to fail. With low monthly costs, they can have peace of mind with their 20-plus-year-old HVAC system.”
HomeServe works with its partners to help educate homeowners about their responsibilities for the repair of utility service lines. Many homeowners are unaware they are responsible for the portion of the service line between the utility’s transmission lines and their home.
“No cooperative wants to approach a member having an issue and say, ‘that’s on your side,’” Adair said. “The more educated you make your members about their responsibilities, the less often you have those hard conversations with them. With HomeServe, the cooperative now can give the member an option to help them avoid potential costs from faulty wiring in and around their home.”
HomeServe USA, a market leader in emergency repair service plans, received Gold Stevie Awards in 2015, 2016 and 2017 for customer service and has an A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau. HomeServe serves more than 3 million customers and has partnerships with more than 450 municipalities, utilities and associations, providing electric, water, sewer and HVAC service through local contractors.
To learn more about how you can partner with HomeServe to bring peace of mind to your members, visit www.homeserveUSA.com.