Animal incidents, including biting bed bugs, are a leading driver of insurance claims — and losses can be significant, says global insurance company Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) in a new report, Global Claims Review: Liability in Focus.
AGCS analyzed more than 1,800 animal-related liability insurance claims that occurred between 2011 and 2016 on which it was a named insurer (either primary or excess). The top cause of such claims was deer incidents (58%, or 1,090 claims) which largely involve collisions with vehicles, which caused losses on average in excess of ($4,225) over this period. In many locations in the United States, such accidents are a major concern that may lead to vehicle debilitation, property damage, bodily injuries or even passenger deaths. The peak period is during the rutting season, usually in October and November.
Bed bug bites/infestation (21%, or 397 total claims) was the second top cause of animal-related liability claims according to the AGCS study, followed by insect bites/infestation (8%, or 147 claims) at third place.
The number of bed bug incidents, in particular, is on the rise in the U.S., according to the Bedbug Registry, a nationwide database of bed bug reports and complaints. According to the database, bed bug sightings in New York hotels alone jumped more than 44% between 2014 and 2015.
This trend is reflected more widely in the AGCS report, which reveals a gradual increase in the number of related claims received over the past five years. While bed bugs are found year-round, infestations and incidents peak during the warmer months of the year — April to August. The number of claims, for example, received in May are double those received in February.
Dog-related incidents — ranging from bites to mauling — (6%, or 114 claims) was the fourth highest cause of animal-related liability claims, according to the report, followed by incidents with cattle — caused by charging, bumping and other accidents (4%, or 82 claims).
Other unusual animal-related liability claims include a hotel guest whose room was invaded by a flying squirrel, another whose hearing aid and slippers were chewed and destroyed by a rodent, and at least two people who were attacked by aggressive peacocks. Peacocks with an attitude?!?!
Animal-related claims comprised almost 2% of the 100,000 claims investigated in the report, making these the eighth top cause of loss, based on number of claims received by insurers (see infographic).