Unless you work in the insurance field, you’re not likely to enjoy talking about insurance, risk, or accidents. So why would we write an entire article about insurance, as well as licenses, certifications, and accreditation in the tree care industry in Connecticut?
Well, we have several reasons…
Reasons Why Tree Care Insurance & Licensure Are Critical
Reason #1 – Because people get hurt
Tree care work is a dangerous business and there’s no way around that. In fact, if you want to get technical, it is the second most dangerous job in the United States.
That surprises a lot of people. We get it, you would think that jobs like firefighting or secret CIA agent would top the list. But when you combine tall heights, dangerous equipment, unsteady surfaces, electrical lines, and crushingly heavy trees, the results can be disastrous.
Reputable tree care companies understand the risks, and we not only study the physics of trees and tree equipment, we also plan and train for disasters. We emphasize safety – for you and for our crew – as a top priority.
We also ensure that we have the proper insurance (ah, here’s where that comes in) to cover the type of work that we do. See more about that below.
Reason #2 – Because trees get hurt
Arborists become arborists because we love trees, and it is painful to see a tree that is injured because someone didn’t know what they were doing.
While you may think deliberate tree injuries and damage are a rarity, we see it almost every day in the Fairfield and New Haven County area. An overpruned or topped tree, mulch piled high against tree trunks (a sure way to slowly kill a tree), or a misguided attempt to support a tree by leaving stakes in place for years, make us mourn a little bit for the trees being put through that torture.
Without proper training (including certifications), experience, and ongoing learning, tree workers can easily do the wrong thing, causing irreparable damage to a tree.
Reason #3 – Because homeowners lose money
We also know that improper tree care costs the homeowner more money down the road.
For example, that “quick pruning job” that removes the ends of all the tree’s branches will cause the tree to send up watersprouts in a desperate attempt to generate nutrients. This creates a cycle of more and more pruning, until the tree loses what energy it has left and dies, leaving the homeowner the expensive task of removing the tree. While this is great for whichever company did the pruning in the first place (more work and more money for them!) it’s a horrible practice and, unfortunately, one that we see all too often.
Reason #4 – Because you may be breaking the law
Connecticut has an arborist law that states that anyone who wants to “advertise, solicit or contract” to do tree care work (or arboriculture) must be a Connecticut Licensed Arborist. The law applies to any work done at or above 15 feet from the ground.
The CT arborist law was enacted to minimize the number of injuries in the industry (mostly to unlicensed tree workers who aren’t properly trained), and because of the many complaints that were made after people realized that the “professional” they hired wasn’t what they purported to be and ended up ruining their landscape.
The law is firstly intended to protect you, the homeowner. It also is meant to protect all of the reputable tree companies from unfair competition by uninsured, untrained and inexperienced “tree companies” who underbid everyone else (it’s easy to be the “low-cost provider” when you’re not paying for insurance, workers’ compensation, equipment maintenance, or the required licenses and registration).
By hiring a CT Licensed Arborist, you know that you’re hiring someone who understands trees and is trained and skilled to handle any circumstance.
What certifications, licenses, accreditations & insurance should a tree care company in Connecticut have?
CT Licenses & Registration
As mentioned earlier, in Connecticut the law requires that any tree care company you hire must have a CT Licensed Arborist on staff, protecting both you and the licensed company. These individuals will have an “S number.” This is the bare minimum requirement of anyone you hire to do any tree work.
Our CT Licensed Arborists are:
- Matthew Hurley – S-6075
Any company that performs arboricultural work in Connecticut is required to register their business with the CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP). This also enables the company to apply pesticides on your property. They will then receive a “B number” that must be publicly displayed on vehicles, ads, contracts, etc.
- Our DEEP registration number is B-3218.
Along with the CT arborist license, Rayzor’s Edge Tree Service has several members of our team with additional certifications. While these certifications are not required by Connecticut law, they do make us safer and more knowledgeable about all aspects of tree care.
- Matthew Hurley – ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ), Certified Tree Safety Professional (CTSP), Turf and Ornamental
- Raymond Boychew – TCIA Qualified Crew Leader Certification, TCIA Chipper Safety Specialist, TCIA Chainsaw Safety Certification, TCIA Aerial Lift Specialist Certification
- Steve Passaro – CT Licensed Operator
Rayzor’s Edge is also a Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) accredited company, ensuring that we are held to the highest national standards and are continuously up-to-date on the best information available for tree care
TCIA Accredited companies are required to meet stringent criteria for professionalism, employee training, state and federal safety regulations, business ethics and consumer satisfaction. They have also undergone a comprehensive on-site audit of professional and business practices, aimed at safeguarding consumers.
We are proud to be one of only 10 accredited tree service companies in Connecticut. You can confirm our accreditation on the TCIA website.
There are two types of insurance to look for when hiring a tree service: liability and worker’s compensation.
If you work with a landscaping company (or have in the past), they may assure you that they are insured for “tree work”. However, you might not want to take their word on that, as most landscapers are only insured for work done up to 15 feet above the ground. That’s right – that means that if your tree is 25 feet tall and someone from the landscaping company falls or is injured while working on your tree, you might be liable for any related costs.
In contrast, a professional tree care company will carry insurance specifically stating that it covers tree work.
Because of the many dangerous aspects of tree work, worker’s compensation insurance is vital for tree care companies. While the owner of a company isn’t required to purchase coverage for him/herself, it’s not a smart idea for the owner to try to cut costs by doing this (unless they never leave the office). And if they don’t have coverage for their tree crews, you will be liable for paying medical expenses if the company cannot (or will not) pay.
Certificate of Insurance
It’s best to request a copy of any tree care company’s certificate of insurance showing that they’re covered specifically for tree work AND that they have worker’s compensation insurance.
Both of these insurance policies are much more expensive than general liability or landscaping insurance but are necessary to protect everyone involved in the unfortunate event of an injury or property damage.
Any reputable tree service company will be happy to show you their certificate of insurance. Just be sure it’s not just a copy of a policy that might no longer exist.
Here’s a copy of our insurance policy.
And there you have it – all the reasons why you should only hire a Connecticut Licensed Arborist, demand proof of proper insurance, and look for additional certifications and accreditations before deciding which tree company to hire.
If you’d like to learn more about Rayzor’s Edge Tree Service, you can find details on the About Us page or give us a call at 203-258-5584 – we’d love to talk with you!
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