As riots broke out in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York and many other cities, including rural locations throughout the United States, images of violence, looting and vandalism were highlighted by the national press.
Property Claim Services (PCS) has provided an early estimate that the Minneapolis riots damaged 400 businesses and could exceed $500 million in insurance losses. Twenty states saw widespread rioting with early estimates between $1 billion and $3 billion in damage. Seven states declared a state of emergency, while 32 states activated the National Guard.
Beginning in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and spreading to dozens of other major U.S. cities, ongoing protests and looting in response to the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd have caused civil unrest. At least 12 major cities have declared a state of emergency, instituted a nightly curfew and called in their state’s National Guard. This civil unrest threatens the normal operation of both local businesses and national logistics companies, including pest control operators, who travel from one destination to another servicing clients. Consider the following when dispatching technicians to areas of civil unrest:
- Create a plan. Draw a decision tree that drivers can easily understand and be trained on. The tree will walk drivers through the steps to take before, during and after a situation escalates. This plan will include how detailed information will be disseminated and who the drivers should contact if they have questions about what to do, or need more information from the field.
“Twenty states saw widespread rioting with early estimates between $1 billion and $3 billion in damage. Seven states declared a state of emergency, while 32 states activated the National Guard.”
2. Monitor the news and areas that will potentially impact drivers. Dispatch should collaborate and communicate with drivers on their routes. Will the driver travel through areas of civil unrest? As new areas of impact surface, or as impacted areas become more serious, transfer this information immediately to drivers. Anticipate and plan for regional curfews that could impact the trip as well.
3. Communicate with customers as their service appointment approaches. Determine their status and ask if someone from the company will be there to supervise or assist the technician with access to the premises when the driver arrives. For high risk areas, avoid scenarios where a driver is working solo to service a client. Know which retail stores are either closed or currently operating under restricted hours and if there have been recent threats of civil unrest.
4. Work with law enforcement and emergency management personnel. Let them know your concerns. They may be willing to work with your business to ensure that stores can remain open. Call these meetings now to identify the go-to people in the event of an emergency situation. Consider local, county and state police, as well as emergency management personnel.
5. Hold a driver meeting. Drivers will need to know their roles, including what to do and what not to do in very specific situations. Remind drivers not to engage in hostile actions if they encounter protesters. Driving a vehicle through a protest is not an acceptable action, and drivers should avoid these areas at all costs, even if it means taking a detour.
6. Prohibit the carrying of guns or weapons inside the trucks. The liability for doing so will reflect on the motor carrier and could even be seen as being endorsed by your organization.
7. Return safely. After treating a customer’s location and prior to a return trip or dispatch to another destination, both driver and dispatch should communicate again as many areas of civil unrest are fluid, with protests popping up in unexpected places.
Weisburger Insurance Brokerage, a Division of Program Brokerage Corporation, is the nationally endorsed insurance broker of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). With over 80 years of experience, our experts are able to review your current coverage and identify ways to best protect your pest control business during the dips and peaks of the industry. For more information on managing you fleet during a civil unrest, please contact Weisburger at 800-431-2794, [email protected], or visit our site at www.weisburger.com.
BY GARY SHAPIRO, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, WEISBURGER INSURANCE BROKERAGE