My Dad has a saying that “Insurance is something you’re always glad you have but hope you never have the need for.” That makes a lot of sense because having the need usually means something unfortunate has taken place. It seems that this advice may have taken a new twist however when it comes to bed bugs. It seems that the worlds largest pest control company (Terminix) has partnered with a very large insurance group (Aon) and come up with a new ‘product’ that could open a Pandora’s box that the industry has avoided for years. Insuring any home or structure against bugs can be a risky deal with so many elements involved. Throw in the fact that the insect insured is bed bugs, the worlds fastest spreading, one of the most difficult to eliminate and now growing immune to some treatments and I think you might have a few losses on your hands. So I’m wondering; is this a wise and prudent move?
Insurance Is Confusing
It’s odd to me that most home owners insurance policies won’t cover termite damage but have a mouse chew a wire, the house burns to the ground and well now it’s time to call in the contractors. Insurance by a ‘loose’ definition is designed for something unexpected or sudden and while I guess finding $1000’s of dollars of termite damage would be a sudden shock to you;- to the insurance company, it’s something that you could have seen and thus they won’t cover. I’ve gotten this question on the subject for years and to this day I can’t get a straight answer myself whenever I ask. So it doesn’t surprise me that there is no roach insurance, no flea bonds, no spider policies or much of anything else out there in the way of insurance for pests that may invade your home or business. The risk must be too high or perhaps the burden of proof is too costly but in any event, it’s not a money making scenario for the insurance companies. Or is it?
Is It Wise To Insure Against Bed Bugs?
I would think this would include bed bugs especially because of the world wide spread over the last decade or so. What insurance company in their right minds would sell policies to cover the costs of bed bugs when they are spreading like wild fire and no longer confined to just bedrooms. Hospitals, public offices, buses, trains, schools, hotels, and even libraries have all been reported infested across the country and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon. Well the answer to that question is Terminix, the worlds largest pest control company and Aon Risk Solutions a global insurance firm have gotten together to offer the first in bed bug insurance and by the sounds of it, both parties seem happy to do so but I’m still contemplating the wisdom.
How it Works
The ‘insurance’ is meant to take the “unplanned” expense out of bed bug treatments and loss according to Nancy Green, executive vice president of Aon Risk Solutions. From what I can gather, this bed bug protection is only going to be available for hotels, landlords, student housing, corporate businesses and leisure travelers. I couldn’t find where it specifically mentioned home owners but perhaps that’ll come in the future depending on how this works out. While no specific details were given I think it’s safe to assume that there is some sort of proactive service and I would assume, advanced premiums even before any service or infestation. This would make sense since this is how insurance generally works and it’s basically what I’ve gleaned from this statement from Aon.
This new suite of products delivers the following benefits, subject to policy limits, terms and conditions:
Insurance to cover the cost of bed bug elimination
Insurance to recover lost revenue resulting from taking rooms out of service during bed bug elimination
Dramatically reduced need to destroy room contents; in many situations, contents can be successfully treated rather than destroyed and replaced
Multi-faceted, integrated bed bug management approach includes a new, non-toxic elimination treatment that can return a room to service in five days or less
Discounted rates for mattress encasements and bed bug kits for greater peace of mind
Tips to prevent further outbreaks
The Law Of Attraction
When visitors and guests no longer show up at a resort or hotel because of some situation, rumor or condition it is called “the law of attraction.” Nobody wants to spend their hard earned dollars and stay in a hotel that has problems. Apparently this especially means bed bugs. With the vast infestation across America and indeed across the world, people are more aware when they travel about bed bugs and taking steps to prevent picking some up. There are even travel sites that list bed bug sightings and places you should avoid. Perhaps this law of attraction is something Terminix and Aon have keyed in on and will use as leverage to sell this new “product” as they call it. Hotels, landlords and the like who depend on travelers and those who lodge may just take the bait and sign up for the coverage to quell any ‘reservations’ (bad pun) these would be tenants might have.
Unfortunately I don’t have all the in’s and outs of bed bug insurance but perhaps as time unfolds we’ll see the virtues or failings of this new and bold plan. If you have any added insight or knowledge we’d all love to hear about it. Is this something you would offer as a company? Would you be a supplier of service if called? Is this a good thing for the industry or is it just another fatal attraction?