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Airbnb's secretive safety team pays out millions each year, report says

The team provides support to guests and hosts but also works to keep incidents quiet, reports Bloomberg.

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Airbnb reportedly has a team of people who deal with the biggest disasters.

Angela Lang/CNET

Airbnb pays out roughly $50 million each year to clean up some of the worst incidents -- including sexual assaults and murders -- that take place at rentals listed on its platform, according to an in-depth report Tuesday from Bloomberg

The work is reportedly handled by a secretive safety team of about 100 people who are positioned across the globe. Team members, some of whom have backgrounds in the military or emergency services, can "spend whatever it takes" to make victims feel supported, according to Bloomberg. The team's activity, which reportedly includes keeping incidents under wraps, involves paying guests and hosts for flights, damage repairs, hotel stays, health costs and testing for sexually transmitted diseases in rape cases. 

Airbnb declined to comment on the report. The company told Bloomberg that most of its payouts are related to its property damage protection program for hosts. 

The Bloomberg report highlights safety concerns surrounding the short-term home rental platform. Airbnb has taken several steps in recent years to improve safety, including requiring that all listings are verified, a practice introduced following a shooting during a party at a California rental in 2019 that left five dead. The company also banned "party houses" and launched a 24-hour hotline to deal with complaints and safety issues in a more timely manner.