Pollution claims are not covered under General Liability insurance policies. You do not have to be an environmental contractor to be brought in on a pollution claim. Here are some claim examples:
Excavation: A contractor accidentally ruptures an underground sewer line, septic or fuel tank and incurs emergency remediation costs to clean up the spill.
Fire Suppression: A contractor performs maintenance on an existing fire suppression system when a sudden discharge of toxic gas unexpectedly occurs, resulting in multiple bodily injury/sickness claims.
Concrete/Masonry: Fly ash is used in cement for a building’s foundation. Residents bring claims against the concrete contractor alleging bodily injuries/sickness from leakage of mercury through the ducts.
Street & Road, Paring Lot & Sidewalk Pavers: A contractor received a cleanup mandate from the state when asphalt sealant fails to harden and runs off into road drainage and out to a nearby creek.
Wallboard/Drywall Installer: Contractor installs wallboard or drywall from an overseas manufacturer. It is learned that the product has a component that is a health hazard. Contractor is responsible for remediation and claims alleging illness from exposure.
Mechanical/Plumbing: A contractor performs work at a new office building or in a home. After completion of the work, black mold appears on the walls due to drips from pipes that were not adequately tightened during the work. The contractor is responsible for the mold remediation and claims alleging illnesses due to the mold.
General Contractor: The General Contractor at a large building site hires a subcontractor to excavate and dewater and decontaminate the water prior to discharging it and inadvertently discharges the contaminated water into a nearby stream. The subcontractor has no pollution liability insurance; the General Contractor is responsible for the clean-up costs and damages.
Remediation costs and defense costs incurred because of a pollution claim can be exorbitant. Be proactive and purchase pollution liability insurance to protect you. If you are not typically working with hazardous materials/waste, and the risk of an environmental claims nominal, the insurance premium is quite affordable.
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