Bedbugs: The Party Guest Nobody Invited

If you’re thinking of skipping this blog because your hotel or apartment building hasn’t had any complaints of bedbugs, think again.

This six-legged public nuisance can crop up in even the cleanest of places. All it takes is one lonely bedbuggie looking to crash your party. Bedbugs, and the litany of potential problems they can cause, could be just a few bites away.

Did you know there is an online “bedbug registry” where your average Moe, Larry, or Curly can make an anonymous consumer report of a bedbug experience after staying in a hotel or apartment building? Yikes! Not to mention, these little brown buggers having been getting press for substantial settlements awarded in recent lawsuits. Red Roof Inn near Washington DC was ordered to shell out $100K. The Ramada Inn in San Francisco was hit with $71K. And just two months ago, a hotel at Disney Land in California was sued for a whole family of bites.
Is your skin itching yet from reading this? The best way to prevent these uninvited guests from wreaking havoc in your building (and on the bodies of staff and guests) is to be proactive.

Get Busy Before the Bugs Get Busy

  • Create a bed bug policy (with a plan to carry out) and share it with staff and tenants.
  • Implement routine inspections. Record, record, record! All this data is great backup that you’re doing all you can before any issues arise.
  • Know the regulations specific to your state. For example, in New York, the Bedbug Disclosure Act requires landlords to report past infestations to tenants.
  • Here are state-by-state laws on bedbugs.

Got some legit complaints? Got people who have made reports or collected evidence (pictures, actual bugs in ziplocks)? Now’s the time to get real.

A hotel or property owner’s response to complaints is critical. If the response is negligent, the victim is more likely to be awarded a settlement. Under many state laws, bedbug bites are akin to the same serious injuries that result from incidents like a “slip and fall” or an auto accident. Like other personal injury claims, the owners, managers, staff and insurance carriers can be at fault. It ain’t no fun. Now add twenty-five itchy bug bites to that.

Your Response to Complaints Is Key

  • Hire a professional exterminator with a great history.
  • Involve the residents (or staff) to make the process successful.
  • Use IPM (Integrated Pest Management), which uses both non-chemical and pesticide approaches without harming humans or the environment.
  • Provide prevention tips to residents (or staff).

Here’s a handy handout to prevent infestation and for a Bedbug Action Plan to distribute to residents or staff, here’s an idea.

Please know that we’re here at Distinguished to help you navigate the ins and outs of all your insurance needs, including those uninvited ones with six legs and two antennae. We sure hope they don’t show up at your next party.