Homeowners’ policies have used canine exclusions for years, particularly after the dog’s first bite victim claims bodily injuries.
General liability policies follow suit.
What are the concerns with company pets?
1. Too enthusiastic welcoming.
2. Employee and visitor health concerns – allergies for example.
3. Trip hazards.
Company pets, like the homebound varieties, enjoy a good enthusiastic welcoming for friends and new visitors alike. The average medical claim for people injured by these excited demonstrations is $30,000. The animal does not want to harm anyone, but accidents do occur.
Employees and visitors can have allergic reactions to different pets. Animal phobias are relatively common. Animals can carry human pathogens and transmit through various vectors. Agreed, pets are a calming and fun addition to the company family, but employee health trumps that need.
Smaller pets contribute to trips and falls, the most common workers compensation cause of loss. Visitors or customers may be more apt to trip over a small pet since they may not be aware of the risk.
Of course, your pet may go to the bathroom inside or bring in ticks, fleas or other bugs. Hair can become a hygiene issue, or even a curse to your electronic equipment.
Company pets do increase risks to health and injury as well as property. Risk management is the first step. Different pets offer different risk profiles. Large, friendly, shedding dogs obviously carry risks. Highly territorial animals can be dangerous. Avoidance may be the best path – simply do not have a company pet.
Liability insurance for your company pet should be discussed in advance with your agent or company representative to assure proper controls, risk management and coverage.