Information on contractors pollution liability insurance including costs, coverages & options. This form of commercial insurance offers protection for bodily injury, property damage, legal defense, & cleanup of pollution created from contracting operations.
Contractors Pollution Liability
Insurance coverage for professionals can vary greatly depending on the classification of the job. Contractors and specialty workers require insurance that can cover themselves and clients when they are out on a job. Coverage in this situation often falls under the category of contactors pollution liability (CPL).
Numerous things can happen during a contract job. Dangerous substances are often lurking in homes unknown to the resident or contractor. Asbestos and mold are common culprits. All of these things can be hidden dangers, and it is the responsibility of the business owner to have the correct coverage so that there are no surprises.
Contract work often involves the use of hazardous materials. Not only are these materials used to complete work on a job; some of these are already present at jobsites. Some of these materials include asbestos, lead, and mold. Workers that abate older homes are often at risk. The people who occupy the home can also be at risk if the job is not done properly. Accidental exposure may result in the need for a medical evaluation.
Contactors pollution liability covers third-party liability. Construction sites and manufacturing plants are also high risk areas for exposure to dangerous chemicals. Professionals that come into contact with dangerous materials are more prevalent that one may think. It is important to consider all aspects of your job description when trying to decide on the right type of policy for your company.
One-time injuries are a possibility on any job. Contactors pollution liability should be in effect of there is a potential for environmental harm. Injuries can happen when chemicals combine and explode, causing the person nearby to suffer. These types of injuries usually require immediate emergency medical care. This is part of what this coverage pays for. These types of injuries are often more severe than injuries at other jobs. Coverage should also cover wages while healing is in progress.
Long-term illnesses may occur due to exposure to dangerous pollutants over many years. Symptoms of asbestos poisoning may not show up immediately. Exposure to lead and other neurotoxins may affect a person poorly enough to keep them from returning to work. Chemicals from plants and dust from construction sites may also cause respiratory problems in many people. Mold in homes is often encountered by contractors, as well. Mold is not covered by many homeowner's policies and should be asked about when applying for contactors pollution liability insurance.
Precautions should be taken while on the job site, as any claim may be met with questions about protective equipment. Workers compensation may take over some job related illness expenses, however, you are expected to have proper insurance to cover what they do not.
Examples Of CPL Claims
Following are claims examples of contractors creating a pollution liability exposure:
HVAC Contractor: When an HVAC contractor installed a new heating and cooling system in a dentists office condo, he didn't seal the ducts properly. After a few months, the dental employees began to get sick. After inspection it was determined that the improperly sealed ductwork had condensation building up inside - allowing legionella bacteria to blow airborne around the offices and exam rooms. The employees sued the contractor and won.
Electrical Contractor: An electrician was installing new electrical lines in a older building. He didn't see the insulation made of asbestos and sent a cloud of toxic dust into the building. The contractor was responsible for the all costs of cleanup for the entire building.
General Contractor: A general contractor completed construction of a new daycare, but three years later fond out that faulty window flashing was letting water slowly into the walls of the entire building. A lot of toxic mold was discovered and negligent installation was determined to be the issue. The subcontractor who actually installed the windows was out of business, so the GC & window manufacturer were both held liable. The general contractor did not have contractors pollution liability coverage and had to pay over $497,988 out-of-pocket for the clean up and remediation.
Residential Contractor: A residential contractor unknowingly spread contaminated soil across a site while doing fill for a new housing project. The contractor was named in a lawsuit for spreading the contamination. The contractor wound up taking a settlement that cost over $197,000 in cleanup costs and legal fees.
Street & Road Contractor: A street and road contractor was ordered to pay remediation costs and business interruption expenses in excess of $616,000 when they ruptured an unmarked oil pipeline. The oil was released into the soil and groundwater because of the contractor's slow and inadequate response to the rupture.
Utility Contractor: A utility contractor was hired to control the vegetation on a right of way for power lines. The contractor applied an herbicide to destroy unwanted vegetation around the lines. After a thunderstorm, the herbicide washed on to farmland closeby. The farmer's crops were damaged heavily. The farmer filed suit alleging $199,000 in damages.
Who Needs Coverage?
Large businesses that work with chemicals should be covered with a sizeable policy. Chemical explosions may cause extensive injury or death. Household contracting companies, plumbers, and painters may be met with less hazards, yet still could be injured or exposed to toxins. Independent contractors that are considered self-employed should also focus on acquiring a policy with significant coverage. Even the addition of one employee or partner raises the possibility of pollution health expenses.
Certain types of contractors face a higher chance for pollution events like silica, mold, asbestos, and other environmental contaminants:
- Above & below ground storage tanks
- General contractors
- Grading, site, & excavation
- HVAC, Electrical & mechanical
- Industrial & pipeline
- Remediation & abatement
- Sewer, waste & utility
- Street & road
The best way to determine the type of coverage you need is to plan a consultation with a professional. If you regularly go into people's homes to work, you definitely want to make sure that your coverage extends to anyone that could be exposed to pollutants during the job.
Contractors Pollution Liability - The Bottom Line
We hope this article on contractors pollution liability has been informative. Environmental insurance is an important part of jobs that require service on many different job sites. Contract workers often work at different locations throughout the week. Each new location brings the possibility of a different risk.
Coverage is very specific when it must accommodate activities various work sites. A wide range of pollutants must be covered to make sure that workers are secure in their coverage in any location. This is also a case where independent contractors need buy policy to contractually get a job. An injury or illness from a pollution exposure can be a long-term complication and precautions must be taken.