Fire and Evidence Inspections in the Age of COVID-19

As much of the country is determining how to best function in working from home and keeping appropriate social distance, the insurance industry is in a difficult position as some functions, such as claims handling and evidentiary inspections, cannot be conducted remotely and must involve the in-person, physical inspection of a loss site or of critical evidence.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus, and is thought to mainly spread from person-to-person contact. This contact occurs when people are in close proximity to one another through respiratory droplets produced when a person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These respiratory droplets can either be transmitted directly to a person or can be deposited on a solid surface. Reports state that the coronavirus can live for hours to days on surfaces like countertops and doorknobs, though it’s unknown whether exposure to heat, cold, or sunlight could affect the lifecycle.

Fire investigators and engineering experts that visit fire scenes are already well versed in wearing personal protection equipment (PPE). In addition to the normal PPE that may already be required (hard-toe shoes, hard hats, reflective vests, and/or safety goggles), participants may also wish to include respiratory masks and disposable gloves. Also, to the extent possible, participants should try to maintain social distancing and utilize any available technology in taking photographs or measuring items.

All participants should continue to follow their company’s guidelines and requirements for wearing PPE in inspecting claims and loss sites. Please do not hesitate to contact Aaron Plamann at or (414) 271-5400 if there are any questions about fire inspection or evidence examination protocols.