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In-home delivery creates liabilities for businesses, insurers

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Some retailers are adding another what-if to their risk profile: slips and falls … in your home.

Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart Stores Inc. and Seattle, Washington-based Amazon.com Inc. are among retailers piloting programs that not only deliver groceries and other goods to customers’ doors, but place packages inside the home and if needed inside the refrigerator, according to the Detroit Free Press. 

The business model not only raises issues for homeowner insurers but also leaves the retailers open to new risks such as: What if a delivery person is attacked by a dog? Who pays if the keyless entry malfunctions and the home is burglarized? And then there’s the problem of slips and falls, the newspaper reported on Wednesday.

“In any of those situations, will Amazon be held liable or will the homeowner be at fault?” Michael Macauley, chief executive officer of Pleasanton, California-based Quadrant, which offers pricing analytics for property/casualty insurers, told a reporter.  “Amazon Key is still in the early stages — there are so many questions surrounding liability if a problem were to occur during delivery.”