Pollution Liability Insurance: Who is it Good For?

May 2018

If your client is involved with the remediation, restoration, construction, or fuel industry, odds are they would benefit from pollution liability coverage. South Western Insurance Group Limited’s exclusive Environmental Product protects specialized businesses against existing and emerging risks and liabilities inside the pollution arena. Casualty and Pollution underwriter Ulli Garrett describes the commercial risk lines her company typically encounters in safeguarding premises, storage tanks, and certain types of contractors from environmental liability as a “broad spectrum.” “A lot of our policies involve restoration companies and contractors who deal with asbestos removal or mould remediation. But we also cover excavation and construction companies because when a land developer begins building a new subdivision for example, they do not always know what is under the ground until they start digging. Sometimes they come across contaminated soil.” According to Garrett, other common environmental coverage situations include:

  • Storage tank policies for retail gas stations and convenience stores with underground fuel tanks, as well as for the fuel delivery companies that house storage tanks on their properties.
  • Premises policies for manufacturers that lease land and whose waste product is potentially harmful (landlords typically require proof of such coverage).
  • Storage and transportation protection for recycling companies dealing in hazardous materials.

“We offer a broad spectrum for pollution liability, for any type of business, as long as they do not provide professional services,” says Garrett. “This includes inspection companies that provide advice, recommendations or even testing results after remediation or abatement work. This would be better placed on an Errors and Omissions policy.” What sets South Western Insurance Group Limited’s environmental insurance apart from other companies is the comprehensive nature of their product. “We can protect businesses against any type of pollution,” Garrett explains, “including waterborne pollutants.” To illustrate, she uses the example of a pollutant getting carried by flooding into the basement of a building. “While our pollution policy does not cover the typical water damage from a situation like that, it will protect against the actual pollutant in the water. And that feature is fairly unique to our company.” Garrett also points out that while a lot of markets no longer write older storage tanks – think single-walled units that have been in the ground some 25 or 30 years – her company still does. “Plus, SWG’s environmental product is fully backed by Lloyd’s of London, it is competitively priced, and we offer a pretty quick turnaround as well.” But the main message that Garrett hopes brokers will bear in mind regarding her company’s pollution liability insurance is that policies are highly customizable. “We try to take a creative and flexible approach to pollution underwriting. So if, for example, somebody works as a contractor but also has a garage containing a storage tank, we can provide coverage for both. In fact, we offer fully combined policies that include coverage for contractors, storage tanks, and premises all in one, which is not very common in this industry.”