To All Authorized Members,

It’s hard to believe that we're nearing the end of the first quarter as we complete the books on another year.  It sure doesn’t seem like a year ago when we was celebrating the wrap up of another successful year for HMI and our Network.  If you read my third quarter letter you already know HMI posted a record year for tree removal claims in 2023… we accomplished that through just three quarters.  This year has started off with a bang, as well, as we closed out the second busiest January in the company’s history.  For those of you who were on the receiving end of all that activity, we truly value your support and commitment to the HMI program.

So, what are HMI’s plans to continue increasing the value of membership in our network in 2024?  There is a lot happening at HMI that you will benefit directly from.

First, I am pleased to announce that HMI is launching two new programs that will significantly increase the volume of tree removal referrals we’ll be sending your way.  The first is a relaunch of a program with Liberty Mutual. We had to suspend that program a couple of years ago due to now-resolved administrative issues.  Before the program was suspended, Liberty Mutual (the 5th largest insurer in the U.S.) was a top 10 client for HMI.  The second program we’re adding is with Hancock Claims Consultants.  Hancock provides claim support services for over 10 large carriers, including Farmers (the 10th largest insurer in the U.S.).  Farmers is eager to work with HMI as they are familiar with the high standards and professionalism of our network.  Both programs should add significantly to HMI’s referral volume this year.

HMI’s back-office support for all of our members is also being expanded this year. I’m thrilled to announce that HMI’s Customer Service Representatives (CSR) are going to be assigned to support specific companies/offices in our Network.  The objective of this change is to allow for a CSR to become more familiar with arborists, pricing policies, crew configurations and documentation of each office.  And to offer a wide range of support such as assistance in closing open files, clarifying coverage questions, issues resolution and training as needed.  They will even coordinate with HMI’s collections team as needed to review outstanding payments with you.  Speaking of HMI’s collections team, we have added additional resources enabling us to also assist our members when payments may have been sent to the homeowner.  Both of these developments will improve HMI’s understanding of your business (pricing policies, crew/equipment configurations, and outstanding balances) which will help reduce file review/approval and payment cycles.  You should expect to hear from your CSR soon, if you haven’t already.

These changes are coming at a very good time.  While we are only in March, forecasters are already expecting the 2024 hurricane season to be particularly active.  Ocean temperatures are at historic highs.  In the portion of the Atlantic that feeds hurricanes, surface temperatures are already near what they would be in early summer.  Also, they are predicting that the current El Nino climate pattern (which prohibits hurricane development) will shift to a La Nina pattern in the second half of the year…just in time for hurricane season.  A La Nina weather pattern typically suppresses wind shear in the Atlantic, making it easier for hurricanes to form and strengthen.  Some forecasters are already warning of a potentially “hyperactive” hurricane season this year.

Regardless of what happens, HMI will be there to support your success with high quality referrals and the back-office support you need to make the most of each one.

Thank you all.  Stay safe!





Doug Cowles

President, Horticultural Asset Management, Inc.