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The Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) is changing its rules on uninsured landscaping companies throughout Illinois.

In an attempt to increase competition within the landscaping industry, the ILCA has decided to crack down on workers compensation insurance and some other aspects that it believes have been too lax over the years.

According to Total Landscape Care, Illinois landscaping contractors aren’t required to have a license, but insurance is needed.

Although landscaping can increase a property’s resale value by up to 14%, Illinois homeowners seldom ask for proof of insurance when working with a landscaping company.

“I can count on one hand the number of residential customers who ask to see a certificate of insurance,” said Lisa Fiore, operations manager of Don Fiore Company, in Illinois. “All my commercial accounts ask for it.”

Homeowners working with landscaping companies without proper insurance could be liable for both major and minor incidents — resulting in costly fines and additional property disputes.

The ILCA is hoping Illinois residents will begin requesting a certificate of insurance before any deals are done with landscaping contractors. Additionally, if no certificate of insurance is provided, the ILCA is asking homeowners to not only refrain from hiring that particular landscaping company, but also reporting them for not having or providing proof of insurance.

The ILCA is reliving on homeowners because there are currently only six enforcement officers that inspect insurance companies.

“Enforcement is a complaint-driven process,” added Ben Noble, spokesperson for the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission (IWCC). “Many times, other companies eagerly report noncompliance because employers that fail to follow the law have an unfair competitive advantage over law-abiding companies. At-risk employees also voluntarily notify the commission of their employer not having insurance.”

The Daily North Shore adds that penalties for not having or providing a certificate of insurance can be as much as $500 per day, and the total fines can reach as high as $10,000.