Editor’s note: PCOs adding, or considering adding, cleaning/disinfecting services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak should find out if these services can be added to their policy. Andy McGinty, executive vice president and chief operating officer at LIPCA Insurance, shares his insights.
Our phone has not stopped with insureds and others calling about adding some type of cleaning, microbial, germicide or whatever you want to call it services to their policy. As I can not speak for our competitors, I know that some carriers do not provide coverage for this type of service. Ours being one of them. Again, I need to be specific here that we do not provide coverage if you are going to target non-pest control types of viruses, germs or similar as part of this service.
We went through a similar situation after Katrina, Gustav, Ike, with other flooding in numerous places. The industry wanted to get into mold treatments. We worked with our insureds and others to promote the services as being moisture control and NOT mold work. It included the necessary documents that excluded claims for mold and other exposures that were not wood-destroying organisms. It was very successful and really cannot remember getting one claim over this service. One of the main reasons were the documents issued to the customer but as time has passed the real reason was the way the industry educated their customers and practiced very precise loss control practices. This included their marketing techniques and upfront discussions with their customers.
With that said, it is not our responsibility or call to say who can or can’t provide whatever services. It is their company and their call. Our job is to tell you the exposures and what services will have insurance coverage or not.
Many PMPs are going to perform this service. It is going to happen. The key is going to be the same as the stated above with the mold treatments. What documents/contracts/marketing materials is the company going to use and supply the customer? That is going to be everything. The product(s) that will be used says it is applicable for pest control insects/rodent or similar exposures.
Another key is going to be your presentation to the customer. Is your service going to take care of the Corona or similar non-pest related viruses? If so, your exposure is going to be a lot higher vs presenting your services as an addition to your pest control related services. In most states you are probably not even allowed or qualified to discuss any non-pest control viruses, bacteria’s or the like unless you are a certified industrial hygienist type. This is a guess, but I would not bet against it.
Again, the contract or release you get the customer to sign will be crucial. If you try and do those services without the document being properly worded, then seriously please do not come to us for insurance. That is an added bullet for the plaintiff when they sue. For our insureds, we have this document. Is it foolproof? Of course not but we think it is pretty strong.
Please remember that if a claim does come it all depends on the allegations on whether you are going to have coverage or not. Get with your insurance professional first before you decide to delve into this service. It could cost you your company. Good luck.