DAB Hour on Mold Prevention and Mitigation

March 10, 2023

By Brittany Brooks

On Feb. 23, the DAB Management Board hosted our monthly webcast with a focus on Mold Prevention and Mitigation. Mold concerns and issues continue to seep into all aspects of moving, thus the importance of proactive and preventative measures.

If you were unable to join in on the Feb. 23 webcast, please browse through the great discussion points and conversation:


  • Robert Wright – Claims Director at The Suddath Companies
  • Boris Populoh – Senior Vice President at UniRisc
  • Lisa Audino-Davisson – The Redmond Group

What is the difference between Mitigation and Remediation surrounding “mold”?

Mitigation – as an agent, we have a duty to mitigate. For example, if an item is “wet”, the mitigation/reasonable effort is to dry the items. In short, mitigation is drying the items and preventing further damage. Take immediate action.

Remediation – there is a contaminate that causes a potential health issue and you need a licensed professional to address it.

As a servicing agent, we are finding 1 or 2 items with potential mold contamination. Do we stop the job? What should we do?

  • When finding a small number of items with potential mold contamination, do not stop the entire delivery of the shipment.
  • The word “mold” should also not be used. Refer to this find as a “growth” or “substance” to prevent hysteria from the customer.
  • For a military shipment, immediately call the TSP and QC offices to receive support.

Any tips for high humidity/tropical areas (like Hawaii)?

  • Assure no external condensation on the items.
  • A/C left in the home causes 90%+ humidity versus 70 degrees in the home.
  • Familiarize yourself with UniRisc’s, “Before You Move,” steps prior to a move.

In regard to insurance coverage, what should a DAB agent look for?

  • Be familiar with your coverage prior to a loss – become familiar with your current coverage.
  • Speak with your insurance agent/broker to confirm what level, or exclusion, of mold and mildew coverage do you currently have.
  • A roof leak may/may not be covered under a commercial insurance policy, based on the endorsements and exclusions. Check with your insurance agent/broker to confirm your coverage level.
  • Shipments on trailers à warehouse coverage only extends to a trailer for 30 days.
  • Mold coverage is typically an “endorsement” to a current commercial insurance policy and is associated with a high deductible.

For peak season preparation, what training should DABs perform with your drivers and crews?

  • Proactive communication habits.
  • Practice detailed and thorough notetaking.
    • Document any item coming into your possession with suspected growth/contamination.
    • Notate pre-existing damage.
  • Be on the lookout for any suspected growth/contamination.
  • If an item has a high potential for growth/contamination, make sure the item is outside and do not take custody of those items.
  • At origin:
    • Check the underside of items near an air-duct.
    • Check leather items that are “oily” or “dirty”
      • Office chairs
      • Couches
      • Chairs
    • Note badly stained mattresses.
    • Check children’s car seats and toys.
    • Refrigerators that were not prepared for transit or have food inside on the day of pack out.
    • Have the customer sign a “mold waiver” form if forced to pack an item (non-military shipments).
    • Check for food within cracks and crevasses.
      • Couches; car seats

Desiccant protection – pros and cons

  • This is a complicated topic because there is no clear data on the volume of desiccant to use for a household goods shipment.
  • Desiccant can certainly help, if you include enough within the shipment.
  • If you do not include enough desiccant within a shipment, the desiccant “bag” will absorb too much water and ultimately pop; leaving a gooey mess on the shipment.

DoD Military / Army installations with high mold concerns at the residents. What should a DAB agent do when preparing for a move on a known growth/contamination environment?

  • Remain hypersensitive pre-, during-, and post-move.
  • Perform a thorough pre-move survey.
  • Loop the TSP into all proactive communication.
  • Request a QC inspector to be onsite during the load day.

When hiring a remediation firm, what criteria should a DAB agent look for before hiring that firm (to confirm their competency)?

  • Vet the company closely.
  • Ask specific questions:
    • Do they handle “contents” work?
    • What is their tracking mechanism for shipments into or out of the warehouse?
    • What is their standard protocol?
    • Do they have staff members that are trained in the industry?
    • What kind of reporting do they utilize (electronic with photo versus handwritten)?
      • Do not accept handwritten reports.
    • Use larger companies when possible versus single-location providers.

Do we think electronic inventories will provide claim liability relief to the industry?

  • Yes, embedding photos within the documents will be helpful.
  • “Soiled” is a discouraged term, and having the photos will speak volumes for claim prevention and documentation.
    • Use the term “12-inch stain on cushion” instead of the ambiguous term “soiled.”

Air Quality Mold Tests / Cleaning Certification 

  • It is still likely that mold is in the air, but that does not mean it’s “elevated.”
  • Air quality tests can also change by season.
  • After hiring a professional company, when they provide you a letter that clearly states what they performed, you are no longer liable based on your due diligence.

To rewatch the Feb. 23 webcast, please visit the recorded session on IAM Learning.