The environmental exposures that can affect an insured are varied and complex. Whether you are working with environmental contractors and consultants, non-environmental risks, or a site/facility, there are many exposure and coverage considerations. Pollution claims can result from so many unforeseeable sources―negligence on the part of an employee, mold from a storm, cleaning product spills, historical pollution problems at a site, and countless other possible issues.
Learn about some of the issues and exposures that affect contractors, consultants, sites/facilities, and property owners & managers
Common environmental exposures:
Mold is everywhere—has been around forever—and was never more than a maintenance problem in the past. So why does it make building owners, managers, landlords, and tenants quake at the mere mention of the word? Because if it is not prevented, contained, or remediated properly, the consequences for property owners can be grave, seriously ruining not only their financial standing, but their reputations as well.
Legionella is a bacteria usually found in water and thrives in temperatures of 68 degrees – 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s often found in hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, hot tubs, cooling towers, and decorative fountains. Issues resulting from legionella include: bodily injury, investigation/cleanup, negative publicity, and more.
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a term that relates to the quality of the air in buildings. Most environmental IAQ concerns center around materials brought into a building, components of the building itself, or operations taking place in the building. Even when a building is thought to be managed properly, any spill, failure, or stress within the building can lead to a serious IAQ issue unless the source of the spill, failure or stressor is found, controlled, and adequately ventilated.
Asbestos was used by builders at the end of the 19th century because of its affordability and resistance to fire. It was used as insulation around pipes, electrical wiring, and in many building components such as floor and ceiling tiles and insulation, caulking, drywall, and drywall joint compound. After numerous health concerns were raised and studies had been conducted, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a ban and “phase out rule.”
For many contractors, particularly those that are specialized, the line between contracting services and professional services has become very grey. While they are performing their normal operations, they could face professional exposures by either making slight adjustments to plans to get the job done, supervising other contractors, or providing recommendations that could be considered professional services in the event of a claim.
Additional insurance topics:
Non-Owned Disposal Sites (NODS) are facilities to which owners/operators or contractors take waste. Companies utilizing NODs typically have no ownership interest or control over them. The material shipped there may be waste from a company, tenants, client, or anyone else’s waste the generator is responsible for. Non-Owned Disposal Site coverage is designed to protect against claims for bodily injury, property damage, or cleanup costs made against a disposal facility.
Sudden & Accidental coverage is tied to a discovery and reporting period, and generally covers bodily injury and property damage caused by a pollution loss. If a claim comes in and is a gradual loss, or is not discovered and reported in the time allowed under the policy form, there is no coverage in place.
The discussion of PFAS chemicals has consistently been in the news the past few years. And concerns are gaining momentum—many environmental specialists are expressing concern about how these substances may impact our world. Understanding the uses for these chemicals and their effects has become an important issue for businesses across the country.
Many people don’t consider meth labs to be an environmental exposure for their business location, they are focused on more common site pollution concerns like mold or a spill. But meth labs are being discovered on properties all over the country, and the effects of this drug residue can require extensive cleanup and potential health concerns.
Action Over is defined as a type of action in which an injured employee, after collecting workers compensation benefits from the employer, sues a third party for contributing to the employee’s injury. Often the contractual liability section within the GL policy form leaves the employer exposed to suits against their GL policy via the Employers Liability (EL) exclusion.
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