Many businesses that produce some type of pollutant throughout the course of daily operations don't know they are doing so.
Those businesses that know they are producing pollutants have processes and safeguards in place to reduce their release into the environment. However, it’s important to understand that a business can be held liable for some very costly damages when these byproducts pollute another property or harm another individual.
Pollution liability clauses were once part of general liability policies, but the extensive asbestos problems in the 1970s spurred most insurers to remove pollution protection from their general liability policies.
Today, pollution liability coverage is obtained through a separate pollution insurance policy. Pollution insurance policies are written for businesses of all sizes, shapes, and forms - from farms and printers to apartment complexes, salons, and dry-cleaning businesses.
Why pollution insurance?
Many businesses run the risk of creating pollution during normal daily operations.
There's also a risk from any existing pollution already on a business's site of operation. In either case, a business could be held liable if its pollution ends up on a third party's property, causes damage to the property, or harms an individual.
Without insurance, the business would be on the hook for paying for those damages out of pocket.
What do policies cover?
The basic premise of a pollution policy is that an insured party gets a claim related to damages caused by pollution it caused.
This insurance will protect your financial interests in the event a clean-up becomes necessary. Buying pollution liability insurance will cover your interests against lawsuits where a third party could be injured by a toxic substance produced as a result of your work.
Like most types of insurance, the specifics of a pollution policy can vary from insurer to insurer; however, a pollution policy will typically cover:
Who needs coverage?
Businesses that have risks related to the handling of pollutants and hazardous materials, design professionals who work with projects where there are environmental issues, as well as those who own and occupy premises that have environmental issues need pollution liability insurance.
Don't overlook pollution insurance as an important element of risk management.