Fire & water restoration contractors work in hazardous conditions; asbestos, chemical residues, silica, mold, and lead are often present at these sites. Restoration contractors work to isolate the environmental threats and restore the property; however, pollution releases resulting from fires and floods may cause damage to the surrounding environment. Exposures may include the examination of the area, cleanup of areas, bringing in heavy equipment if needed, and cleanup/removal of trash. Additionally, these contractors have an exposure from transporting waste or materials to or from a jobsite, disposal of waste at non-owned facilities, and the insured’s owned premises. Specific considerations may include:

Mold: The growth of mold and other bacteria as a result of inadequate cleanup/restoration after a flood or water intrusion.

Particulate Matter: Soot and ash that becomes airborne during work can pollute the air, creating dangerous air quality, as well as potentially redistributing the ash over a larger area.

Chemicals: Paints, plastics, and solvents are just a few dangerous materials released in a fire or flood. Restoration contractors must carefully contain these substances while removing and transporting them for safe disposal.

Asbestos: Older buildings that contain asbestos materials can release fibers into the air when they burn or flood. Asbestos may be found in floor tiles, ceiling materials, pipes, and other fixtures.

Polluted Water: Water used to put out a fire mixed with firefighting foam, soot, and chemicals can leach into groundwater if not properly contained. Flood water often carries chemicals, fuels, animals/animal waste, and other hazardous substances.

Fire & water restoration contractors may also make mistakes, leading to property damage, safety risks, and further exacerbating the pollution. These events may lead to claims against the contractor. Here are some examples of legal conflicts for fire & water restoration companies: A restoration company was ordered to pay more than $65,000 after improperly removing asbestos from an elementary school. In a different case, an Indianapolis couple filed a lawsuit alleging that their water damage restoration contractor did a poor job removing moisture from their 4,600­square­foot home, causing mold to grow throughout the house. Costs to remove the mold topped $100,000.

Available coverage for fire & water restoration contractors can include:

For more information on environmental coverage for fire & water restoration contractors, or to discuss an account, please contact a PartnerOne Environmental team member today.