The U.S. bed bug infestation has now affected a multitude of industries, including hospitals, campus dormitories, homeless shelters, public transportation, retailers, movie theatres, and hotels, according to news reports.
The bed bugs can spread through clothes, suitcases, furniture, and even electric devices.
"They can have a profound impact on a business’ operation,” noted JoAnn Sullivan, senior vice president, Marsh Workforce Strategies Practice. “For instance, a retailer must consider the potential impact on its supply chain with the uncertainty of how an infestation might originate: during the manufacture or transportation of the product, or from an employer or shopper.”
Marsh Risk Consulting recommend that businesses develop protocols to identify and isolate an infestation, depending on the nature of their business.
Plaintiff attorneys have been suing landlords, hotels, and retailers, alleging negligence, breach of contract (misrepresentation), violations of code, and breach of warranty. Businesses should review their insurance policies, as most standard commercial insurance policies have vermin exclusions for infestations.
"It is crucial to act promptly and consistently whenever a customer, employee, tenant, or student reports bed bugs,” Sullivan added. “Get a complete description of the location of the infestation and affected objects. Call in a licensed exterminator as quickly as practical and continue to communicate to stakeholders about what is being done.”