DTY: The Insurance Guide | Sponsored by Brownyard Group
New technology offers rewards, risks


John CulottaLater this month, thousands of pest management professionals (PMPs) from around the world will gather at PestWorld 2018 in Orlando, Fla., where the industry’s latest products and technologies will be on display. While we all welcome new technology that helps us do our jobs more effectively, PMPs should also temper their expectations.

When adopting a new technology, it’s important to see a documented track record of the equipment being considered, understand all the potential risks — for your employees and your customer’s property — and make sure you conduct thorough training for anyone who may use the new equipment.

For example, when heating machines were introduced for bed bug eradication several years ago, PMPs were presented with a valuable alternative to chemical treatments.

However, they also presented issues. First, some PMPs promised they could eradicate bed bugs without also cautioning customers that it could take several treatments. This sometimes led to unhappy customers and, in some cases, costly claims against the PMP. Managing customer expectations has been a recurring theme of mine in this column for years.

Second, all equipment and products have the potential to damage property when not used according to label. In the case of heat treatment equipment, the temperature in a room being treated rose beyond recommended levels because the device was improperly programmed or monitored. The result was insurance claims related to damaged artwork, record collections and other valuables.

PMPs using any technology should be trained in the protocols necessary to carry out treatments safely and effectively; with equipment like heating units, they should monitor carefully. Taking these preventative safety measures not only prevents damage from happening, but can also lessen the severity of the damage if it does occur. This translates to smaller settlements with customers, fewer jumps in your insurance premiums and a better reputation in your community.

So, if you decide to purchase new equipment after attending PestWorld this year, remember to manage customer expectations and conduct thorough training — or it could end up costing you a lot more than the purchase price.

For more on managing your risks and the specialized insurance needed when claims do occur, visit PCOpro on the web at Brownyard.com.

John Culotta is program manager of PCOpro, the pest control operator program at Brownyard Group, a leading administrator providing specialized insurance coverage for select industry groups. He can be reached at jculotta@brownyard.com or by calling 800-645-5820, ext. 122.

PMP's Direct To You provides pest management professionals with educational refreshers on timely and critical topics essential to operational success. This content is not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice where you live. Look for the content-rich PMP Direct To You archives at mypmp.net/direct-to-you-archive.

This newsletter was produced by North Coast Media's content marketing staff in collaboration with Brownyard Group.

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