Pollutants in Transit: An Unexpected Liability

Businesses in the water industry may have an unrealized exposure to pollution liability. Members hauling waste water understand the exposure, but water testers and treaters may not realize that many of the chemicals and preparations they use to treat water are looked upon by government agencies in the same light. If an auto wreck or accident occurs and these water treatment chemicals are released, the insured may find themselves with a huge liability that bears no relation to the actual auto accident. The standard business auto policy will not cover this loss or expense, nor will the average commercial liability policy sold in the market today.

What Can Happen?

Let’s set up a hypothetical situation. An auto wreck occurs and dry chemical is ejected onto the road surface. Most likely this will trigger an environmental response by the local government or regulatory agency. They will clean up the spill or have it done to their specifications and bill you for the cost. Has any property damage occurred as a result of this cleanup or the spill? You will be required to pay that as well. Any bodily injury sustained by any bystander that ensues will be your liability as well. Legal fees, court costs, attorney fees and actions brought against you by government, regulatory authority or other third party may require your compensation.

Here’s another example to illustrate what can easily happen. A garbage truck has a ruptured hydraulic line. Fluid escapes onto the road surface and into a storm drain before it is contained. The cost to clean up the road surface and detox the entire drainage system was enormous, and wasn’t covered under the parent company’s commercial liability insurance, leaving them to cover the cost themselves. This is an example of what can happen and how our policy will apply. Not only will our policy cover this but more importantly, it will cover any similar loss or occurrence arising out of chemicals or compounds you are hauling that escape while in transit.

How Our Coverage Can Help

WaterColor Management’s policy includes this coverage under our commercial casualty policy. Our policy is separate from your business auto liability limit. The latter remains unencumbered and can be used to respond to anyone injured in the auto wreck or property damaged if you are at fault.

Our liability protection includes claims initiated by government authority or regulatory agency for clean-up. Coverage extends to reimburse regulatory agencies and government for any costs they incur and any resulting fines, payments or financial awards levied against you.

When the event happens, control and mitigation are essential and often very expensive. A very small loss can become a very large claim. Our policy reimburses you for these expenses you may then incur to contain, control or mitigate contamination whenever there is imminent or substantial endangerment to the public health.

About Watercolor Management

WaterColor Management has insured the water industry for over 30 years.  Our policies include unlimited defense cost coverage in the event of a lawsuit against you. Call us at (256) 260-0412 or email info@watercolormanagement.com for a quick quote for your Water Business Professional, Products/Completed operations, Pollution and General Liability Insurance.

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