Recycling Centers and Their Place in the Environmental Insurance Market

By Chapin Speidel, Vice President and Rocky Mountain Regional Manager

In the past few years, we have seen large shifts in the insurance marketplace regarding carrier appetite and capacity for certain classes of business. In this article, we will examine how the recycling industry is not exempt to these market shifts, and how an increased number of E&S carriers, particularly those in the environmental insurance market, are stepping in to fill the void left by the standard market’s evolving outlook.

Let’s start by acknowledging that recyclers are not a “one size fits all” type of business to insure. Every recycling business has a different exposure basis: from the types of equipment they use, what they are recycling, their auto fleet (or lack thereof), limits capacity sought, etc. The one similarity we have seen at Beacon Hill is that all recyclers have a pollution exposure. Almost all standard markets who insure recyclers are lacking in the type of pollution insurance provided in their terms and conditions. So what are these environmental exposures that you should be aware of when discussing an insurance program with your client?

Short answer, it depends on the type of recycling risk! A few examples include: If the recycler discards e-waste/electronics, heavy metals could leach into the soils/groundwater at a recycling site, or at a disposal site such as a landfill. If the recycler has a large fleet that transports hazardous material (i.e., used oil, medical waste, hazardous waste), there could be over the road spills that require unique cleanup services. If the facility is involved in a fire, dangerous fumes and toxins from the waste materials could be released into the atmosphere or damage adjacent properties in surrounding neighborhoods.

While environmental exposures are at the forefront of Beacon Hill and our carrier partners’ minds, we also understand the need for additional coverages to round out the recycling’ insured’s risk management program. Auto Liability and Excess Liability are both hot topics in the market right now, and our markets can assist with recycling accounts that have large fleets, and those accounts that need Excess limits sitting over top of those large fleets. Our markets can consider: General Liability, Contractors Pollution Liability, Site Pollution Liability, Professional Liability Excess Liability, Auto Liability, and Workers’ Compensation, when the GL is placed.

If there are any questions regarding Beacon Hill’s insurance market capabilities for recyclers, please reach out to your regional representative for further information.