Exposure Spotlight: Flooring Businesses

Companies in the flooring industry, whether they specialize in manufacturing, distributing, or installing, run a particularly high risk for pollution exposures. The products themselves generally contain, or have been exposed to, significant chemicals during their creation. Additionally, these products are almost universally used in enclosed spaces such as homes or offices, leading to prolonged exposures where concentrations can build. In combination, the likelihood of indoor air quality or other contamination causing bodily injury is important to address.

Bodily Injury, Property Damage, Business Interruption, and other claims can result from:

  • Chemicals used in the floor manufacturing and preparation process, including pesticides and durability treatment processes, which can lead to leaching, causing soil/groundwater contamination, natural resources damages, etc.
  • Off-gassing from carpet/vinyl/wood chemicals and adhesives used to secure flooring can lead to significant indoor air quality issues.
  • Mold growth in damp wood flooring that may not have dried before installation.
  • Disposal considerations for flooring materials.

Specific examples of how these exposures apply to the contractors installing flooring products include:

Pollution caused by contaminants brought to the jobsite
Any flooring business has the potential for spills of chemicals including stains, varnishes, sealants, and adhesives. The most critical risk issues associated with bringing chemicals to the jobsite involve the release of these chemicals into the air, into waterbodies, or into storm drains.

Over the road pollution
Most flooring businesses transport stains, sealants, and adhesives to jobsites. They may also be responsible for hauling away old flooring debris that has been removed from a structure, often containing chemical solutions. An accident on the highway could lead to expenses for Cleanup and Third Party Losses; coverage available through the Auto policy may be quite limited.

Contractor’s owned premises exposures
Many flooring businesses have buildings used to store and maintain their equipment and vehicles. These facilities can include warehouses or larger structures that sell stain, sealers, and adhesive products. When chemicals used for this process are not stored properly, in severe weather or fire conditions, chemicals could go offsite and cause property damage to adjoining buildings or bodily injury to third parties. Further, the fumes from off-gassing could create an indoor air quality issue. For many businesses, this property represents a significant equity position. Losses from this type of exposure can include cost of Cleanup, Diminution of Property Value, and Third Party Bodily Injury.

Need more information on this topic? Contact us to learn about coverages for flooring companies and recent news stories on this topic.