You’ve heard the expression, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” I wonder how the rest of the expression would go if you’ve been fooled a third or fourth time! In a winter edition of a publication distributed to home inspectors and appraisers, an editorial appeared disparaging ASHI. In what seems to be a common occurrence for this particular publication and publishing organization, the information presented about ASHI was false, misleading, and somewhat silly.
Normally in a case like this we would submit a rebuttal to clear up the false allegations. In fact some of our membership have urged us to do just that. However, we’ve responded to misrepresentations of ASHI in the past, and they continue to occur. Shame on us for thinking things would change!
This time, we’ve decided not to take the bait. So rather than write yet another rebuttal to them, we’ve chosen to go directly to the audience that matters the most – you, the ASHI Membership. After all, you make up this Society, and you make the decisions on what organizations to support or not to support.
This particular editorial accuses ASHI of being disinterested in providing its membership with access to various products and services. ASHI has created numerous opportunities for companies that provide products and services to have access to our membership and for our membership to have access to them. In fact, some of our membership believe we’ve provided too much access, and have asked us to significantly reduce this exposure.
That said, the Society also has a selfish interest in retaining its membership. As a result, we have a policy forbidding other home inspector membership organizations access (advertising, exhibiting, membership) through ASHI. Is this wrong? We don’t think so. We do not expect to have access to the membership of another home inspector association. There are some exceptions, usually involving state home inspector associations that we have formal allied agreements with. Now, just because an organization isn’t able to use ASHI to promote its services, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have access. This particular organization recently faxed a letter to you offering its services and lamenting that ASHI “barred them from exhibiting.” I can assure you, we did not provide them with the fax numbers. Yet somehow, they obtained them.
We have explained to this organization that if they provided insurance without requiring membership, we would have no problem with them exhibiting at our show or advertising in our publications. They contend their membership offering is simply a formality. Other providers have a similar set-up, so we understand this requirement. However, this organization spends significant money and effort promoting membership benefits to inspectors. The literature and marketing materials are geared toward membership, not insurance. In fact they now have a category of membership that one can obtain without ties to the insurance policy.
ASHI formally endorses one particular insurance program. The work that went into the creation of this policy and into building a strong partnership with this provider was extensive and continues to be so. We strongly believe this particular program offers the best coverage, and is the best one for you. More than 10 insurance providers were invited to submit proposals during the selection process, which was handled by a taskforce of your peers. We believe the endorsed program is competitive in the marketplace, and we also believe that you get what you pay for. Not everyone is going to choose the ASHI endorsed program. That’s why other insurance providers advertise and exhibit at our shows. We know you’re capable of choosing the plan that is right for you.
In addition to misrepresenting the reasons they are not allowed to advertise or exhibit, the editorial claims ASHI has been pushing one particular reporting system on its membership over all others, and that some ASHI leaders have a financial interest in education programs “foisted onto the membership.” This is false. We are baffled at this insinuation. ASHI’s leaders who train and educate inspectors do not play a role in the education and training decisions made by the Society. In fact, at every Board of Directors meeting, before any item on the Agenda is discussed, every Officer and Director is required to identify any real or potential conflicts of interest. Those who do either leave the room when the matter is addressed or they are forbidden to vote on the matter. All ASHI’s leaders are required to sign an agreement requiring all conflicts be identified, and that there can be no personal gain from their role within the Society. We take this matter seriously.
It is important for you to know there are safeguards in place. ASHI has committed no foul. The article in question was unnecessary, and served as yet another example of a cheap shot. Frankly, we’re tired of it. ASHI has gone above and beyond what would be considered normal in this situation. If they’re trying to make a good impression on us and you, the membership, I’d have to say they continue to head in the wrong direction. What a shame.