When a tragedy such as a homicide or suicide occurs in a home, families typically look to their homeowner's policy to help mitigate the costs associated with cleanup. Many cleaning and restoration companies offer bioremediation services, but only those that specialize in the field fully understand the science behind removing blood and bio. For those with policies that require the homeowner to use a specific cleaning company, it is up to the insurance carrier to select biohazard companies with strict standards for both safety and cleaning.
In an effort to shed light on this challenging topic, we address some of the most common concerns voiced by insurance adjusters and their clients. Read on to learn more:
Are adjusters liable for an improper biohazard cleanup?
In short, the answer is: It’s possible. It might be tempting to utilize a general restoration company offering a lower cost, but doing so may put the insurer at risk for a lawsuit. A recent case involved policyholders currently suing their insurance company for a new home, valued at $600,000, after the general cleaning company who was hired by insurers to complete a biohazard cleanup failed to rid the home of the rotten stench.
What makes bioremediation so complex?
Potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens can occur from either direct contact or inhalation. Considering one out of every 24 people has Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or HIV and these pathogens can survive in a deceased person for a considerable amount of time, bioremediation specialists must follow stringent employee safety regulations and meticulous decontamination procedures that most cleanup crews are not accustomed to.
Several key items to inquire about when choosing a vendor for a biohazard cleanup include:
EPA and State Environmental Agency Compliance – The disposal of medical waste must be in accordance with federal, state and/or local regulations. Make sure the biohazard cleanup company hired is licensed to transport/dispose of medical waste.
Reporting/Testing – A reputable company should be able to deliver a detailed report which catalogs the cleanup process, including photos, list of items disposed, why the employees went through a certain amount of protective equipment, etc.
Sensitivity Training – Biohazard cleanup specialists should appoint only one person to communicate with the family in order to avoid confusion or conflicting updates. Aftermath employees have been trained to eliminate alarming language from their vocabulary and speak empathetically with the policyholder.