Pollution Liability: The CPL Solution
Air, water, and soil pollution pose a serious financial threat for contractors. One small misstep can require thousands – or even millions – to clean up.
Consider these scenarios:
- Remodeling a school kicks up dust.
- Using construction materials generates fumes that pollute the air.
- Hitting an underground storage tank leads to the release of liquid pollutants.
- Spraying to remove a bees’ nest from a work area releases insecticides.
- Tying into a sewer line improperly causes sewage to back up.
Your Comprehensive General Liability (CGL) policy provides severely limited protection against these types of pollution claims. Not to worry! Contractors Pollution Liability (CPL) insurance can protect you. (These policies are sometimes written together with Contractors Professional Liability coverage – see the previous article).
CPL covers Bodily Injury and Property Damage – whether by settlement or verdict – as well as the expenses of investigating, defending, or settling claims. Most policies also cover the costs of removing or neutralizing pollutants and restoring the damaged property.
CPL policies usually include a “hammer clause” that works like this: if the contractor chooses to fight a claim, rather than settle it, the insurance company’s liability for damages and claims expenses is limited to what it would have had to pay if the contractor had approved the settlement. As you can imagine, most contractors choose to settle when their insurer recommends this approach.
As with Contractors Professional Liability coverage, CPL policies are usually written on a case-by-case basis, with the size of the policy depending on your situation (for example coverage might be worldwide or limited to the U.S). Our agency would be happy to work with you, and the quality insurance companies we represent, to tailor a program suited for your needs. Feel free to get in touch with us at any time.
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