(Adds "involving animals" to clarify context in 6th paragraph)
By Suzanne Barlyn
March 30 Bedbugs in hotel rooms and aggressive
peacocks are some of the creatures behind an uptick in
animal-related insurance claims filed by U.S. businesses,
according to a study published on Thursday by insurer Allianz SE
U.S. claims involving bedbugs increased 50 percent between
2014 and 2015, from 66 to 99, according to Allianz. The insurer
has already counted 70 bedbug claims through September 2016,
heading for a total that could surpass the previous year's, said
Larry Crotser, the chief claims officer for the insurer's
Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty unit.
The findings were included in a global report by the Allianz
unit, which analyzed more than 100,000 corporate liability
claims from roughly 100 countries paid by Allianz and other
insurers between 2011 and 2016, totaling $9.3 billion. The
claims involved everything from aviation to cyber security.
The analysis included nearly 1,880 U.S. animal-related
business liability claims, representing about 2 percent of all
commercial claims in the study.
Animal claims increased 28 percent between 2011 and 2015,
from 287 to 365, according to Allianz. The average
animal-related liability claim is about $10,400, with all animal
claims totaling nearly $20 million.
Bedbugs accounted for 21 percent of U.S. business liability
claims involving animals. Some claims, however, were peculiar,
such as a hotel guest whose room was invaded by a flying
squirrel and another whose hearing aid and slippers were
destroyed by a rodent. Two claims involved people who were
attacked by aggressive peacocks, according to the study.
Bedbugs, found on every continent except Antarctica, have
been biting people for thousands of years. Widespread
insecticide use in homes after World War Two eliminated them
from many regions, but bedbugs developed pesticide resistance
and rebounded, thriving in heated homes and hitching rides in
luggage in international travel.
Hotel companies typically file insurance claims to cover
costs of reimbursing guests who encountered bedbugs during their
stays and inadvertently brought the insects home in their
suitcases, causing infestations, Crotser said.
Those guests then look to the hotel company to pay for
fumigating their homes. Commercial bedbug claims averaged
$5,660, an Allianz spokeswoman said.
Deer incidents, such as collisions with farm vehicles, were
the most common involving animals, accounting for 58 percent of
U.S. animal-related liability claims insurers received.
Other business claims involved damage from dogs, roaming
cattle, horses, cats, rodents, snakes and sheep.
(Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Leslie Adler)