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From the Front Lines: Environmental Liability

"Contractors pollution liability terms and pricing continue to remain competitive, but site pollution liability is another story," says independent agent Bill Howard. "Markets are certainly more conservative and carriers are offering short-term policies."
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From the Front Lines: Environmental LiabilityBill Howard 

Account Executive

Clarke & Sampson Inc.

Alexandria, Virginia

How did you get started at your agency?

I obtained my insurance license and worked as an intern during the summer and holidays. After graduation, I started full time with Clarke & Sampson Inc. and have worked for Clarke & Sampson ever since.

Why environmental liability insurance?

Environmental insurance is often overlooked. When agents mention pollution insurance, most people think of storage tanks, landfills and oil spills. However, the risk is much broader, affecting retail, building owners, landowners, manufacturing, apartments, construction, service, hospitality, energy and industrial.

Today, lenders require environmental coverage to protect their loans. Contract agreements increasingly include environmental coverage requirements. Landowners are concerned about their exposure from prior ownership and the use of their property. Building owners face indoor air quality concerns from tenants and guests.

Changes in the environmental liability market?

Contractors pollution liability terms and pricing continue to remain competitive, but site pollution liability is another story. Markets are certainly more conservative and carriers are offering short-term policies. Clients are also seeing increased retentions or reduced limits for mold, fungi and Legionella. 

Challenges?

Although not limited to environmental carriers, staffing is a concern across the industry—finding new, quality and experienced underwriters is a challenge.

In terms of risk, major concerns in the market relate to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFAS); the environmental impacts of hurricanes and other natural disasters overwhelming sewage treatment plants; storm-related flooding damage to underground or above ground storage tanks; and the risks from flooding leading to more claims from mold.

Future trends?

Although we are expecting to see an increasing numbers of carriers offering contractors pollution liability coverage, I expect the market for site pollution to continue to tighten. I also expect increasing exposure in the disposal of equipment that contains toxic metals, increasing pollution exclusions and limitations in the casualty market and increased regulatory review and regulations. The new federal infrastructure bill should also increase activity.

Advice for a fellow agent in the environmental liability market?

Find a knowledgeable partner through either a company or a broker specializing in environmental coverages. Additionally, include environmental liability on your list of recommended coverages and help your client understand how this coverage relates to their operations.

Olivia Overman is IA content editor.

16313
Monday, January 31, 2022
Environmental Liability