Are You Sure Sudden & Accidental Site Pollution Is Enough?

By Ivy Riggs, Executive Underwriter

“You sold me the wrong policy!” is a terrible claim no producer ever wants to hear from their client…especially when it’s true. But being an expert in all product lines, and understanding the nuances of each, can be a challenge for even the most diligent of professionals. With highly specialized products like Site Pollution Liability insurance, it can be even more daunting. This overview will briefly explore one of the more common questions fundamental to this product: what is the difference between sudden & accidental (S&A) site pollution coverage and a sudden & gradual or “broad” site pollution policy?

The differences are numerous and were born in litigation. As headline-making tragedies like Love Canal caught the public’s attention in the 1970’s, it became clear that new legislation was necessary to address the legacy of indifferent and unregulated disposal of toxic waste in this country. Taking action, Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, or “Superfund”) in 1980. With its “polluter pays” mandate, it took the extraordinary step of creating strict and retroactive liability for the cleanup of environmental pollutants.

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Recent Success Stories

$800k Tank and pipeline testing contractor purchased GL, CPL, and E&O ($1M/$2M) for $6,584.

$2.4M Hazmat abatement contractor purchased GL/CPL/E&) and a $10M Excess policy for $40,000. This included a 17-year retro date on the Professional Liability.

$1.25M Corrosion control services company purchased GL/CPL/E&O and a $5M Excess policy for $25,000.

$900k Environmental consultant purchased GL/CPL/E&O for $6,186.