Pest Control Insurance Needs

Pest Control Companies Face Unique Risks

Pest control companies provide services to commercial and residential customers who have problems with insects, rodents and other nuisances on their property. The fumigator or exterminator determines the type of pest and the most effective method of extermination. These methods should always be the method that will cause the least amount of disruption to the customer, regardless if the customer is an individual or a business. Because these businesses are constantly interacting with customers off-premise and the nature of the chemicals they are using, risks in this industry are high.

In order to manage risks properly, pest control companies need to have thorough training procedures for all employees.  Those training programs should include safety programs to keep the employees and the clients safe at all times. In addition to adequate safety programs, pest control companies need to acquire adequate insurance coverage to protect the business from the unique risks each business faces. Here are six types of insurance coverage every pest control company should have.

Pest Control by Fumigation

Minimum recommended coverage:

  • General Liability Insurance
  • Commercial Property Coverage
  • Business Personal Property Insurance
  • Commercial Auto Coverage
  • Inland Marine Insurance
  • Workers Compensation Coverage

General Liability Insurance

General Liability risks arise for pest control companies when employees travel off-premises in order to applying chemicals. Customers should be given proper instructions on controls regarding anyone or anything that could be exposed to hazardous materials while the application is going on. This is especially important for clients who have children, pets, sick and elderly individuals. In some instances, temporary evacuation is required during application. This may be  followed by a waiting period and re-ventilation to replace the fumigant with fresh air.

Commercial Property Coverage

Commercial  property risks depend on the type of property you own and operate as well as the types of chemicals being stored on the property.  It also depends on the amount of these chemicals you keep on the property and whether or not those chemicals are flammable. Hazards increase if the contractor fails to store the chemicals properly in approved containers, cabinets and rooms, with accurate labeling and separation. Speaking long and honestly with your independent insurance agent is always the best way to properly protect your business. This conversation should include exactly what the employees of your business do on a daily basis, what is the condition of the property you operate, and exactly what chemicals you are storing on the property.

Business Personal Property Insurance

Business Personal Property Insurance provides coverage to small businesses for furniture, fixtures, merchandise, materials and all other personal property owned by you personally and used in your business. The best part about this coverage is that it is generally at replacement cost. Many business owners think this type of loss is covered by their commercial property insurance, but it is not. This coverage can and should be added to most BOP or CPP Packages if there is a need for this coverage.

Commercial Auto Coverage

Automobile exposure in the pest control industry is extremely high due to the amount of time employees spend in their vehicles travelling to clients locations. In addition, there is the fact that the employees are also transporting chemicals throughout their workday. Drivers in some states may need a hazardous materials (“hazmat”) endorsement to transport some chemicals used. Risks increase if the insured lacks spill control procedures and equipment.

Inland Marine Insurance

Inland marine exposures in the pest control industry come primarily from the contractor’s equipment and the transporting of that equipment, chemicals and supplies to the customers’ premises. Equipment is not highly susceptible to damage, but it can be hazardous to both your employees and clients.  This equipment may include tarps, drills, measuring devices and other hand tools. The tarps and plastics used to enclose the areas to be fumigated may be bulky and require attention to folding and tying down. The chemical containers may be vulnerable to overturn or damage that causes leaking, which impacts the auto and premises liability exposures.

Workers Compensation Coverage

Workers compensation exposure can be high for the Pest Control industry. Common hazards include slips and falls during application; minor injuries while using hand tools; lifting injury and back injuries, hernia, sprain and strain. Employees can experience lung, eye, or skin irritations due to the chemicals. The impact of these chemicals can be immediate or long term.  In some Pest Control companies seasonal employees may make safety a challenge. Loss potential becomes severe if the contractor fails to train and supervise employees properly. This is especially important when it comes to the proper use of protective gear by the employees.

 

Business Liability Category: Artisan Contractors

SIC Business Insurance Codes:

  • 7342: Disinfecting and Pest Control Services
  • 2879: Pesticides and Chemicals—Not Classified Elsewhere

NAICS Liability Classifications:

  • 561710: Exterminating and Pest Control Services
  • 325320: Pesticide and Agricultural Chemical Manufacturing

Business ISO General Liability:

  • 43860: Fumigators
  • 43470: Pest Control Services

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

  • 9014: Janitorial Services by Contractors (Florida—Exterminators)
  • 4828: Chemical Blending and Pest Control Fumigation
  • 9031: California Code—Pest Control—All Operations
  • 0046: Massachusetts Code—Pesticide Application

HVAC Contractors

Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors ( HVAC Contractors ) are those business that provide services for and repair heating and air conditioning units.  They provide these services for both commercial and residential clients.  They have to be knowledgeable about both duct and vent work, the different types of fuel sources for heating equipment, which can be natural or LP gas, electric, steam, solid fuel, coal, or fuel oil.  Many contractors also install, service, and repair air conditioners. While air conditioning units are normally electric-powered, they are charged with different coolants, some of which may be hazardous.

All of these different types of work bring their own unique risks to the contractor. For this reason, it is very important for you to have an extended conversation with your insurance agent about all of the types of work you do and do not participate in.  It is equally important to inform your agent if there are certain types of work you do not partake in. There are more than one classification code for this industry and the types of risks you take on can dramatically impact what you pay in premium for a number of commercial insurance policies.  Below are 6 policies most HVAC Contractors need to secure in order to protect their business properly.

•   General Liability

•   Property Insurance

•   Hired and Non-Owned Auto (full commercial auto if vehicles owned)

•   Inland Marine

•   Business Income with Extra Expense

•   Workers’ Compensation

General Liability Insurance

General Liability Exposures at the contractor’s office or shop are generally limited due to lack of public access to the premises. Retail sales increase the possibility of customers slipping, falling, or tripping if customers visit office to view products.

Property Insurance

Property exposures at the heating contractor’s own location are generally limited to those of an office, shop, and storage of materials, equipment, and vehicles. Operations may also include retail sales. The fire exposure is generally light unless repair operations involving welding take place on premises. Welding involves the use of tanks of gases that must be stored and handled properly to avoid loss. The absence of basic controls such as chained storage in a cool area and the separation of welding from other operations may reflect a greater risk.

Commercial Auto

Automobile exposures are generally limited to transporting workers, equipment and supplies to and from job sites for HVAC Contractors. Hazards depend on the type and use of vehicles and radius of operation with the main hazards being upsets. Vehicles may have special modifications or built-in equipment such as lifts and hoists. Large heating systems may be awkward and require special handling and tie-down procedures. Age, training, experience, and drivers’ records, as well as the age, condition and maintenance of the vehicles are all important items to consider. If employees utilize their own personal vehicles for work related tasks then Hired and Non-Owned Coverage should be purchased.

Inland Marine Coverage

Inland marine exposures include contractors’ tools and equipment, including ladders and scaffolding, hoists, and portable welders, the transport of materials, and installation floater. Goods in transit consists of tools and equipment as well as products purchased by the customer for installation at the job site. HVAC units can be of high value and susceptible to damage in transit; they frequently require expertise in loading to prevent load shift or overturn.

Workers’ compensation

Workers compensation exposures vary based on the size and nature of the job. Both residential and commercial work involves lifting, work with hand tools, wiring, and piping. Cuts from the fabrication and installation of sheet metal for ducts and vents are common. Lifting injuries such as hernias, strains and sprains plus back injuries may occur. Electrical burns are common; electrocution can occur from the use of high-voltage lines. Any time work is done above ground, injury or death from falls and being struck by falling objects can occur. Slips and falls, foreign object in eyes, major and minor burns, and inhalation of fumes are all potential hazards.

What is Inland Marine Insurance?

Also referred to as “Equipment Coverage”, Inland Marine Coverage is coverage specifically for property that is likely to be moved or in transit. It is a highly specialized type of property that requires a unique valuation. This can include products that you are having shipped across the country, but it can also apply to a tractor. This type of coverage is essential for many business owners and the best way to determine if you need it is to have a strong trusting relationship with your insurance agent and tell them everything about your daily operations.

Inland Marine CoverageNow many business owners have an initial reaction to being offered inland marine coverage. That reaction frequently is that this coverage does not apply to my business. In many cases a business owner feels their insurance agent is just trying to tack on an extra coverage. A coverage that they do not really need and in some cases, they might be correct. Again, if you have an insurance agent that you trust they should be able to explain this coverage and help you determine if it is right for you. Any agent worth their weight will not be mentioning a coverage that has no benefit to you the business owner. You might have a difference of opinion about what the risk is, but an agent should never recommend something you do not need.

The best way for an insurance agent to stay in business is to keep you the customer happy. Keeping you happy occurs by saving you money on your policy up front, but also in making sure you are fully covered when incidents do occur. This is where you may differ in opinion about the risks your business faces and about the amount of risk you as a business owner are willing to take. It is the job of the insurance agent to make you aware of these risks and offer the products for you to protect your business to the fullest.

Now I speak about this relationship with your agent, because Inland Marine Coverage is a specialized product in the insurance industry. It is very important for some business owners to have, but many business owners do not carry it and many do not understand how going without it puts their business at risks. First take the example of a construction business who has just a general liability and workers compensation policy. This is typically the bare minimum to get your business up and running. If your construction business is operating away from your business residence than all of your tools are not covered under your either of the policies you have in place. If you were to severely damage a tractor or some other type of expensive equipment than you are responsible for any repairs that might occur. Say you have an expensive piece of machinery that you cannot operate without. If you do not have cash on hand to repair or replace that piece of equipment what is your business going to do? If you have an Inland Marine Policy in place than you can replace that piece of equipment through your insurance policy.

Again having a good relationship with your agent and speaking honestly with them about your daily operations can go a long way towards determining whether you need Inland Marine Coverage. Having open and honest discussions with your agent allow you to determine what risks you have and how much risk you are willing to take as a business owner. The amount of risk a business owner is willing to take is different for every business. Your agent works with all types of business owners on a daily basis. If you are the type of owner who is willing to take on more risk, you should make that known to your agent. At the same time you should partner with an agent you trust and listen to them when they recommend some type of coverage. If they are the type of agent you should be doing business with than they will not be recommending something that is not in your best interest.

Do I really need Inland Marine Insurance?

Inland marine insurance is a specialized form or property insurance. It is often referred to as equipment coverage or Floaters by many business owners and insurance agents. The primary distinction between inland marine and other property insurance is the fact that inland marine is specifically for property that is likely to be moved or in transit, or it is a highly specialized type of property that required a unique valuation.

inland marine insurance

Originally, inland marine insurance policies were referred to as Floaters because they were primarily policies written to cover cargo in transit on large marine vessels. Inland marine coverage has expanded in the U.S. to include most types of property that has an element of transportation. Today, inland marine insurance covers a wide range of property and equipment.  When the property being insured does not fit within a traditional property insurance policy and is not always stationary in a reasonably fixed location it will automatically be eligible for an inland marine quote. While inland marine insurance is slightly more expensive than other property coverage, it also provides additional protection from theft or damage to the property while it is away from the primary business location.

The most common types of inland marine coverage includes construction equipment, transportation cargo, mobile medical equipment, cameras and movie equipment, musical instruments, fine arts and solar panels. Traditional property insurance is not designed to cover claims associated with these types of property. It is not uncommon for a business to purchase both property coverage and inland marine coverage together as part of a Business Owners Package (BOP).

Even though most homeowners policies provide some coverage for personal property such as fine arts, jewelry, guns, antiques, and musical instruments, these policies typically have lower insurance limits and provide less coverage in terms of causes of loss. In some instances, individuals or home based businesses find some of their property can’t be covered properly by their homeowners insurance. This is another situation where an inland marine policy could provide additional coverage.

Personal inland marine coverage is also offered in rare circumstances. It is very similar to a commercial inland marine policy, but the main difference is the named insured (i.e. the person or business buying the policy). Personal inland marine polices are commonly written for individuals who want broader insurance coverage for select property, or want higher limits of coverage than a homeowners policy will provide.

Commercial inland marine insurance represents approximately 2% of all insurance premium written in the United States. This is not a large amount, but when your business needs it it is a great thing to have. Claims on this type of coverage are much more common than many business owners assume. Most business owners and insurance managers could benefit from having a long discussion about what business equipment commonly leaves the primary insured location. In most cases it is only insured if it is located at primary insured location. Once it leaves the premises it must be insured under an inland marine policy. In many cases business owners have turned in property claims on equipment they store or use offsite, only to find their business property coverage does not cover the claim.  This is frequently when business owners understand the value of their inland marine coverage. Unfortunately many times it is too late.