The coverage contractors need

Although contractors may overlook environmental policies when buying insurance, anyone who works in oil and gas, landscaping, drilling and demolition should consider this critical coverage. Although South Western Group has only issued a “soft launch” of this product about eight months ago, it has already helped a multitude of clients protect themselves from environmental exposures. “We’ve seen a range of operations, from fuel haulers to bridge and dam contractors,” said Trisha Teoh, senior underwriter, South Western Group Ltd. “Any one of these sectors could potentially have a loss that accumulates massive cleanup costs.” Although some CGL policies on the market may compensate for the first initial cleanup, Teoh hopes to educate brokers on policies that encompass the comprehensive set of costs that result from inadvertent environmental violations. “A small percentage of homes are heated using oil tanks and spills may occur if improperly installed. If oil leaks into a nearby Lake, our policy would look to provide cleanup costs to remove the oil from the lake as whatever is needed to prevent the spreading of it. We would also look into the cost of reintroducing new species that may have been killed by the containments,” Teoh said. Other features of the coverage include:

  • Inclusions of asbestos and mold
  • Emergency response costs
  • Compensation for third party bodily injury and property damage
  • Legal defence costs
  • Completed operations

While the product isn’t formally unveiled until December, the underwriters are already seeing an exceptional response to the coverage from the broker community. “We’ve done a soft launch with a few brokers, and right now we have a 33% bind to quote ratio,” said Ghazal Hamid, branch manager, South Western Group Ltd. “The feedback has all been really positive.”