Welcome to the American Bio Recovery Association (ABRA)
THE LEADER IN ETHICAL STANDARDS, MEMBERSHIP and CONTRACTOR CERTIFICATION
This page provides links to resources and information for Claims Adjusters about the American BioRecovery Association and why we are of paramount importance to the Property, Homeowners and Auto Insurance Industry.
With certain demographic sectors of the world getting older and the risk of Infectious Disease growing ever more dangerous, the need to implement discussion on the qualifications of contractors to respond to incidents of Trauma and Biological Safety Risks is here. Many in this industry have experienced a spike in interest in what we do for a living. This was really brought about by the Ebola Crisis of 2015 – 2016 and the mistakes made in the response to it. This led officials in many states to look into the background and experience of contractors that advertise the remediation of biohazard conditions. Most officials assumed that OSHA-HAZWOPER is mandated for biological response. But very few hazardous materials contractors have any biological response experience.
First, we have to define what a biohazard is.
Biological hazards, also known as biohazards, refer to biological substances that pose a threat to the health of living organisms, primarily that of humans. This can include medical waste or samples of a microorganism, virus or toxin (from a biological source) that can affect human health. It can also include substances harmful to other animals.
So from that definition one can assume, that we are not dealing with a response to a chemical or an oil spill which is typical of the requirements and training of OSHA 1910.120. HAZWOPER or is excluded in policies by traditional pollution exclusions. This poses a huge question and gap on which guidelines or standards are required for Biological Response. By law, every company who claims to mitigation and remediate biologically hazardous conditions must comply with the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard: OSHA 1910.1030. They must also have a written exposure control plan in place. This is a minimum standard to cleanup any bodily fluids. They should also be listed as a generator of Medical or Infectious Waste by their states department of Environmental Protection or Department of Solid Waste if required to do so.
There are third party certifications for contractors in this category such as those provided by the American Bio Recovery Association. Many however, try and get away with what is in the minimum requirements unknowingly or knowingly putting profits ahead of proper training. Part of the problem is that if it is related to an insurance claim, the practices of insurance pricing programs (Similar to Medical Billing) is that many are only collecting data by zip code from those who advertise that they do (Biohazard). Many of which do not exhibit true mitigation experience as defined. Pricing programs are not currently requiring any certification to practice this profession. Many of these under-informed contractors think they can do biohazard if they do mold remediation or a category three water damage (Sewage). But what happens when they have to go cleanup a suicide or have an infectious disease condition? Ownership and Estimators see the Trauma\Biohazard pricing category and think they hit a gold mine, blinded by the risk and exposure to their workers and potential legal risk to their company. Does their insurance company know they do this type of work? Do they only have a janitorial category for Workman's Compensation? This is when under trained response contractors can really do more harm than good. They can easily cross-contaminate structure and buildings presenting a risk to public health. Case in point – You hope that the Doctor that participates in your health care insurance program actually has been vetted and is third party certified and credentialed MD. Currently, this is not the case with property insurance pricing programs.
BIOLOGICAL SAFETY RISK
CDC Risk Categories are determined and referenced by Biological Safety Level 1-4. 1 Being the least concern with 4 being immediately dangerous to life and health. Contractors should be billing labor and PPE out according to Biological Safety Level (BSL) risk, experience and potential exposure costs. This is not found in the insurance pricing programs. Are these contractors asking pre-qualification questions such as: What was the cause of death? Has there been a diagnosis? What are the current observed conditions? Have the police cleared the scene? Has the Department of Environmental Protection or Health been notified of the conditions?
With these problems in our industry, we have a lot of people making uninformed decisions putting a lot of people, employees and public health at risk. We have the unethical chasers who claim the insurance will cover the project and sign an unknowing distressed client to a contract before a determination of coverage is completed. The unethical contractor does the work and then if the people cannot afford the spiked-up bill for a shoddy job or the insurance denies the claim, they put a lien on the property.