By Jim Lombardo, CPCU, AAI, AIM, MBA, AVP of Learning & Development
Over my thirty…err, many years in the insurance industry, I handled numerous claims - usually in the “fender bender" or “small house fire" category. I've had my share of larger claims where my clients suffered big financial, personal and/or professional losses and we were there to help them, as best as we could, to get their lives back together again. For that I am very proud and humbled.
The weird, unusual or just plain crazy loss notice crossing my desk sometimes made me laugh, and some made me wonder if our clients have the proper coverages for any future similar loss.
A few days ago, I heard about one of the most bizarre, strange and frankly frightening losses ever to cross my path.
Here goes… (only the names have been changed).
A couple of weekends ago, Joan's husband, Tim, was working on their family salt water aquarium.
He was attempting to remove some palythoas (a type of zoanthid coral) from the rock structure in their tank. As he was removing the palythoas, they released a toxin that went airborne, which the entire family unknowingly ingested.
A couple of hours later, after everyone was fevered, coughing and having difficulties breathing, the whole family ended up in the ER.
Her son, Doug, was admitted with a 107o temperature. After a decontamination shower, he and sister, Kathy, were airlifted to Children's Hospital, while Tim was on the verge of intubation and was facing kidney failure. Joan and Tim experienced the joys of a decontamination shower too, just before being admitted to the ICU at the local hospital.
The ER staff was in a bit of a panic because the County Poison Control didn't have a protocol on how to handle palytoxin poisoning. They bagged and incinerated all of the clothes and belongings that they had brought with them to the ER.
Turns out, palythoa toxin is one of the world's deadliest toxins. Had they stayed in the house overnight, and not gone to the ER and been admitted, they all would have died.
So, after a collective 18 days in ICU and 2 helicopter rides, everyone is back to school and work.
It was an interesting ordeal and a medical rarity, so a toxicologist and one of the doctors is going to write up the case study for the medical journals.
I told you it was bizarre, strange and frightening. Now, while I can't promise you a class in the near future about the deadly toxins of salt water aquariums, I think we have many interesting and topical webinars and classes coming up the remainder of this year and well into 2020. This is another opportunity to gain knowledge and become even more valuable to your clients.
Here are some upcoming webinars that perhaps can help you with your insurance knowledge…
Risk, Risk Management and Insurance: Why Agents Are NOT Risk Managers
Alphabet Soup: The Mistakes & Coverages- DO, EPLI, FLI & EBL
Homeowner's Policy Coverage Concerns for the Modern Family
Everything's Soaked and My Stuff Stinks: Water Damage Webinar