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Affordable liability insurance
Insurance for Pest Control Businesses
Pest control companies and fumigators provide services to commercial and residential customers. The fumigator or exterminator determines the type of pest and the most effective method of extermination that will cause the least amount of disruption to the customer.
Exterminators eliminate or control pests by spraying or releasing chemical solutions or toxic fumes, or by placing traps, liquid or pellet poisons in the appropriate locations. Monitoring and follow up services are offered as well. The type of chemicals used and the type of properties treated determine the true exposure.
Fumigators typically seal the affected area with plastic or other type of containment material and pump a gas (the “fumigant”) into the area to free it from infestation by pests, most often cockroaches or other insects. The gas permeates through the walls and all spaces in order to eliminate all pests. Less often smoking pellets are used instead, placed strategically throughout the area and ignited.
Recommended Insurance Programs for Pest Control
Minimum recommended coverage:
- General Liability
- Professional Liability
- Property Insurance
- Commercial Auto Insurance
- Workers Compensation
Other coverages to consider for Exterminators and Pest Control:
Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, Contractors’ Equipment (Inland Marine Insurance), Environmental Impairment Liability (Pollution Coverage), Umbrella Liability Coverage, Hired and Non-Owned Auto Coverage.
Common Risks and Needs Associated with Pest Control
General Liability Insurance
GL liability arises from off-premises operations during the course of applying chemicals. Customers should be given proper instructions on controls regarding anyone or anything that could be exposed to the poisons while the application is going on, especially children, food and pets. Temporary evacuation is required during application, followed by a waiting period and re-ventilation to replace the fumigant with fresh air.
Spills, leaks, overspray and spray residue may damage property. Fumes may irritate eyes and skin, contaminate foodstuffs or other susceptible property, and result in sickness or worse if inhaled or ingested by persons or pets. In most cases, employees must be licensed and certified for the chemicals being applied.
Completed operations for general liability coverage may have high exposure to loss. Hazards include health risks due to food or water contamination from improper cleanup, failure to provide required warnings or lack of adequate follow-up. The insured’s use of the inappropriate extermination method may also result in disease or property damage if the pest is not eliminated.
Pest Inspection Damage Liability Insurance
Environmental impairment exposure is high as every phase of the contractor’s operations may trigger a pollution event: storage, transportation, application, cleanup and disposal (including disposal of empty containers). The toxic effect may be cumulative or immediate.
Business property risks will depend on the type of chemicals stored, the amounts and flammability. They are not theft targets, nor are they susceptible to other damage. While they are all toxic, some may also be flammable. Hazards increase if the contractor fails to store the chemicals properly in approved containers, cabinets and rooms, with accurate labeling and separation.
Automobile exposure is high due to the transport of chemicals. The fumigant may be applied directly from tanks mounted onto vehicles; hazards include upset and spillage. Age, training, experience and driving records, as well as the age, condition, and maintenance of the vehicles, are all important items to consider. 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 Coverage
Inland marine exposures come from the contractor’s equipment and the transport of equipment, chemicals and supplies to the customers’ premises. Equipment is not highly susceptible to damage, and may include traps, 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 container may be vulnerable to overturn or damage that causes leaking, which impacts the auto and premises liability exposures.
Workers Compensation Insurance
Workers compensation exposure can be high for the Pest Control industry. Common hazards include slips and falls during application; minor hand and other injuries while using hand tools and lifting injury such as back injury, hernia, sprain and strain. Employees can experience lung, eye or skin irritations and other reactions to the chemicals with effects immediate or cumulative over a long period of exposure.
In some Pest Control companies, a seasonal and casual labor force makes safety a challenge. Loss potential becomes severe if the contractor fails to train and supervise employees properly, or does not ensure that protective gear is available and worn by all workers.
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