Four Things Insurers Need to Know About Environmental Testing
With insurance standards constantly being changed and updated, it’s hard to get a handle on what’s important right now. So, we’ve compiled a list of the top things’ insurers should know about environmental testing.
To help avoid liability issues, test for asbestos prior to mold remediation.
The most experienced adjusters and agents know that a claim can become a lot larger if mold remediation is not conducted properly. This even includes accidentally contaminating a home because walls, tiles, or ceilings containing asbestos or lead were ripped out without proper precautions being taken, contaminating a much larger area. Aside from that, testing for asbestos prior to mold remediation is a good idea in general to protect the health of the insured and the workers on the job. (It can also shield you from further liability.)
“Cleaning” mold is not an alternative to remediation.
A recent article in PropertyCausalty360 states that killing mold is not enough for an insurance claim. The current standard of care uniformly emphasizes physical removal as the primary means of mold remediation. Since most home and business policies have caps on the amount paid out to deal with mold remediation, smart adjusters won’t waste time and money with ineffective solutions.
The best solution to the problem is remediation. According to the article, because there are no federal mold remediation rules in place, the industry was left to establish its own standards for dealing with mold contamination. Numerous government agencies, industry associations, and private organizations agree that the best practice is to pinpoint the mold through independent testing, then hire a different contractor to physically remove the mold following the blueprint provided by the testing company.
Some states, including New York, require accreditation and licensing for the companies or individuals who do mold inspections and removal. The rules also do not allow the same company to conduct testing and renovation on the same job. In other unregulated states, like Connecticut and New Jersey, many testing and remediation companies don’t have the requisite training and knowledge. These consultants and contractors often opt for alternate methods of removal such as using sprays, mists, and fogs to treat and remediate mold. Low standards can create potential problems for insurers. An adjuster who unwittingly recommends a contractor whose work is outside of what is determined as “acceptable industry practice” can be liable for more than the covered loss.
Clearance testing is critical to prevent future claims.
Once mold remediation has been completed, it is vitally important to do follow-up clearance testing to ensure the mold was removed properly. This way, if there is a new claim for mold from the same claimant, you can be sure that the new problem was not caused by the initial problem, which could open you up to liability. Additionally, if the insured comes back to you complaining of health symptoms and demanding additional payment, you’ll have proof that it wasn’t caused by the remediation.
Working with a qualified, unbiased testing company which does not do remediation can save you money.
Not every mold testing company is the same. There are those that do both testing and remediation, which is a clear conflict of interest. For, the more mold they say they find, the more they stand to make in the remediation to follow.
RTK Environmental only does testing and never remediation, so you can rest assured our results are unbiased and accurate. Additionally, RTK provides you with a blueprint for remediation. By removing mold only in the specific areas designated, you can potentially save thousands of dollars son unnecessary remediation costs. And with our fast turnaround times, you can reduce the cost of ALE.
Contact RTK to schedule an inspection for your claim today. Click here or call 800.392.6468.