Who is Service Line Warranties of America?

SLWA_logo_taglinePhilip E. Riley, Jr., CEO of Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA), which was founded in 2003, was concerned that while government was addressing aging public infrastructure issues, there was no solution available to homeowners, whose private water and sewer lines are subjected to the same wear and tear as public service lines. SLWA initially focused on addressing the issues presented by the aging public infrastructure with local utilities. By 2009, he recognized the need for educating homeowners about their service line responsibilities at the municipal level, and began partnering with municipalities across the U.S.

With the support and endorsement of the National League of Cities (NLC), the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), the Indian National Council of Governments (INCOG) and the Local Authority Service (LAS), created by the Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) in Ontario, Canada, the program is now available in more than 250 cities and municipalities across North America.

The National League of Cities Service Line Warranty Program, administered by Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA) has a deep understanding of working with city officials to provide a service line warranty program that adds value and meets service expectations for the city and its residents.

SLWA and its affiliates are committed to acting with the highest level of integrity and ethics in daily interactions with clients, customers, employees, contractors and stakeholders. Business transparency and dedication to providing an exceptional customer experience has resulted in a customer satisfaction rating that has exceeded 95% for more than 10 years. SLWA’s values are deeply engrained in its employees’ work ethic and is demonstrated through their respect of others and honesty when handling daily business interactions. Humility and respect are articulated through the encouragement of listening carefully and working effectively to create a winning scenario from which all parties benefit. This approach has yielded consistently outstanding results and is why SLWA was selected as the 2013 Winner of the Western Pennsylvania Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics and the 2015 winner of the West Virginia Municipal League Conservation Award.

SLWA partnered with the NLC to bring the NLC Service Line Warranty Program to cities, towns and municipalities across the United States. Endorsement from the NLC, a highly respected ambassador for municipalities, helped establish credibility and trust in the program since its affiliation upholds the long-standing, well-respected NLC image. As a partner representing the NLC brand, SLWA is committed to both the BBB accreditation standards and those of the National League of Cities. With integrity and ethics weighing heavily in the company’s mission, vision and values, SLWA demonstrates the core fundamentals of what the BBB and the Torch Award represent.

“Considering the large customer base that Service Line Warranties of America has worked with over these past 10 years and their exemplary record at the Bureau, I’m proud to have you as an accredited business of the BBB,” said Mr. Warren King, President of the Western Pennsylvania Better Business Bureau. “There were three key things that stood out in their business philosophy – full disclosure and communication with customers, partners, vendors and staff, which are all part of the company’s daily ethical standards and values; honoring promises by providing service in the fairest and most honest way possible; and acting with integrity, which involves mutual respect, problem solving without overreaction and fair and equitable ways of ensuring complete client satisfaction.”

While all businesses are rated through the Better Business Bureau, the grade rating is merely a matrix of claims and unresolved issues. The accreditation is where the value to the consumer lies and the business practices of the company are evaluated. SLWA and its affiliates are diligent about maintaining their Better Business Bureau accreditation, which requires that the business not only work to resolve customer complaints, but also adhere to ethical and customer-oriented business practices. By partnering with a long-standing Better Business Bureau Accredited Business, the city can be confident that customers take first priority and that repairs are made to the customers’ satisfaction and in accordance with local code.

“Service Line Warranties of America assimilates integrity, ethics, trust and honesty as central values for its organization,” said Dr. James Weber, Torch Award Judge and current Professor of Business Ethics and Management, Senior Fellow and Founding Director of the Beard Center for Leadership in Ethics at Duquesne University. “This firm’s ethical employee training includes six pillars of character and emphasizes a positive approach toward the benefits of being ethical. The firm also created a Community and Employee Engagement Committee to better enable the firm to act responsibly toward the community.”

Why do we need Public-Private Partnerships?

Should cities and municipalities enter into partnerships with private companies? Public entities and private companies have been successfully collaborating for years via advisory boards, stakeholder groups and governance bodies to leverage the collective experience, knowledge and expertise of a broader group. From infrastructure renewal programs in Louisville, Kentucky, to highway safety patrols in Pennsylvania and park programs in Nashville, Tennessee, for many cities, Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are an alternative worth pursuing. Cities, towns and municipalities across the country are facing tremendous challenges in an environment of increasing demand on aging infrastructure, struggling against reduced budgets.

According to a report by the National League of Cities (NLC), “Coming into 2013, cities were experiencing the sixth year in a row of declining revenues.” While there are signs of improvement, the report states that “cities are still struggling in significant ways, signaling that growth is not keeping pace at a level that is needed for a sustained recovery.”

A few years ago, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) launched a “pilot infrastructure renewal program,” in Louisville, Kentucky, hiring a road crew to fill potholes, which were stenciled with the KFC brand.

“Budgets are tight for cities across the country, and finding funding for needed road repairs is a continuing challenge,” Jerry Abramson, Louisville Metro Mayor, said in the release. “It’s great to have a concerned corporation like KFC create innovative private/public partnerships like this pothole refresh program.”

If you are traveling down the Pennsylvania Turnpike, you may have noticed the “State Farm Safety Patrol.” This PPP brings together two groups in a partnership that simply makes sense, given their mutual interest in highway safety.

And San Diego, California, has been described as a model for private sector partnership. The city partnered with Cardiac Science, a developer of cardiology products and services. Cardiac Science became the city’s ”Automated External Defibrillator Partner” in 2001.

According to an article in Athletic Business, ”the revenue from that partnership operates and sustains San Diego Project Heart Beat, the city’s Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) Program, which strives to improve the survivability of sudden cardiac arrest victims by making AEDs as accessible as fire extinguishers in city and county facilities, healthcare facilities, schools, businesses and tourist attractions.”

According to the project’s website, San Diego Project Heart Beat has helped save 107 lives.

As these examples demonstrate, PPPs are often a way for the city to work with a private partner to deliver a program that addresses a specific need in the community. The NLC Service Line Warranty Program was created from the need to provide an affordable service line repair solution to homeowners, educate the public on service line responsibilities and help with water conservation efforts.

Utility Service Partners (USP) is committed to providing valuable service line protection at a fair market price, helping our municipal partners educate residents about their service line responsibilities and ensuring every interaction with customers and city stakeholders exceeds expectations. Service Line Warranties of America, USP’s consumer brand, is the honored recipient of the 2013 Western Pennsylvania Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics.

The NLC Service Line Warranty Program is a uniquely co-branded program between the program’s administrator, Utility Service Partners, and municipalities. The power of municipal co-branding is that it serves to build confidence in the quality of the program, promoting a higher adoption rate. Consistent with NLC’s public policy initiatives to address the national problem of aging water and sewer infrastructure along with the associated water quality issues, this program does not endorse the marketing of unrelated products.

Jim Hunt, past NLC President and founder of Amazing Cities, stated, “As I now meet with cities in all parts of the country, many are excited to look at this Public-Private Partnership and provide the opportunity for their citizens to be protected from catastrophic expense associated with failed water and sewer lines. The National League of Cities continues to provide quality programs to member cities, which address critical problems for our citizens.”

Although hampered by misconceptions, leadership in many cities has sought such innovative partnerships for one simple reason: because the people want timely and efficient service.