It appears that bed bugs are now being taken as a serious threat to hotels, apartments and other multi-family settings. The impact of bed bugs and the cost of remediation have caught the attention of the insurance industry. A recent article in Insurance Journal discusses a PR Newswire piece about AON Risk Solutions rolling out an insurance product for the hotel and multi-family industry.
As an industry insider, I knew it was only a matter of time before someone came out with a form of financial protection. To treat bed bugs the right way, you have to take the time to identify through a canine search the rooms or units where an infestation is suspected. Once an infestation is identified, you have to heat treat the property and the belongings within. Unfortunately, this is not an easy or cheap process. It is however several times cheaper than gutting a room, throwing away all the furniture, dousing the room with chemicals and taking the surrounding rooms off line for day or weeks.
The policy is reported to cover the following:
- 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
It appears that by partnering with Terminix, AON has incorporated some of their processes in the list above. I say this because it does not take more than 1 day to properly heat treat a room. The 5 days or less bullet point tells me chemicals are being used even though they are calling them non-toxic. With heat treatment, none of the furniture needs to be destroyed. Lastly, while mattress covers and bed bug kits sound good, in reality, they do nothing to prevent bed bugs from spreading and harassing your customers. It will be interesting to see if at the end of the day, this truly is an insurance policy or a marketing ploy cooked up by AON and Terminix.
I have reached out to AON regarding the insurance to get more details on the terms and cost of the policy. Once I hear back from them, I will be sure to share my findings.
John, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist