Environmental Insurance Coverage Considerations for Higher Education, Colleges, and Boarding Schools

Many educational institutions are self-contained communities, with campuses that often extend for blocks that may or may not be contiguous. They may house classrooms as well as facilities such as laboratories, cafeterias/food service, dormitories, fraternity/sorority housing, sports stadiums, gardens, swimming pools, day care centers, bookstores, and newspaper/printing operations. In addition, their maintenance facilities may include power generation and wastewater treatment plants where activities such as hazardous materials management, waste removal, wastewater treatment, and air emissions control may occur. Additionally, environmental incidents may stem from pollutants emanating from educational facilities or emanating onto educational properties from surrounding neighbors.

The age, activities, and locations where these facilities are situated can lead to environmental exposures that may not be uncovered until they are undergoing redevelopment or renovation activities, or a claim is made against the educational facility. Many older campus buildings were constructed prior to the development of hazardous materials handling procedures, therefore laboratory drains that were used to dispose of chemicals or on-site landfills used to dispose of construction waste, for example, may still have traces of hazardous materials left over from improper disposal methods.

Environmental Concerns

The following are some of the most conspicuous areas of a typical campus and examples of environmental concerns that could occur in these areas:

  • Laboratories
  • Cafeterias/Food Service
  • Dormitories/Fraternity/Sorority Housing
  • Sports Stadiums
  • Swimming Pools
  • Maintenance Areas

Every type of campus is unique and will have its own set of challenges; however, there are two major types of insurance products that will respond to most of the environmental issues that these institutions face:

Premises Pollution Liability (EIL) is the primary product that is designed to provide coverage for higher education institutions. The policy is designed for schools that are at one location or multiple locations. It provides First and Third Party Liability, Clean Up coverage, and Third Party Bodily Injury and Property Damage coverage. This product can be enhanced to provide coverage for First Party Business Interruption in the event of a pollution release.

Contractor Pollution Liability (CPL) is another insurance product that applies to higher education institutions if they have contractors come onto their premises to conduct maintenance or redevelopment activities. It provides coverage for pollution conditions caused by the contractor in the performance of their operations. This includes environmental incidents that the contractors create or exacerbate on the grounds of the institution. The policy is designed to provide Third Party Liability coverage in response to claims for Bodily Injury, Property Damage, or Cleanup costs. Although the contractors can purchase this coverage themselves, some of the advantages to the educational facility purchasing the coverage is to control costs and to know exactly what coverage their contractors have. A certificate of insurance, which is often the documentation that contractors use to exhibit coverage, does not provide a thorough overview of the coverage that they actually have in place.

These products can be enhanced to provide coverage for claims stemming from the disposal of waste, including waste oil, fuel, cleaning products, paints, thinners, etc. that result in claims against the educational facility for bodily injury, property damage, or cleanup costs.

To request more information about coverage for higher education, colleges, and boarding schools, please contact us.