By Katie Labonte, Associate Underwriter and Megan Stephens, Managing Underwriter
You might think of medical waste disposal companies as only transporting waste from hospitals or physicians’ clinics, but the range of facilities that these companies partner with can be far greater. These companies can also manage medical waste removal programs from dental offices, urgent care centers, veterinarian clinics, rescue squads, home infusion, etc. And it’s not only about transporting medical waste from ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B;’ the correct management of regulated medical waste is imperative to avoid regulatory fines and prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
The pollution exposures for these companies exist in the pickup, transportation, and disposal of regulated medical waste (also referred to as biohazardous waste, biomedical waste, infectious waste, or sharps waste). It’s possible for medical waste to spill or leak during pickup from a medical facility, or materials saturated with blood and other bodily fluids could cause contamination during transport. Likewise, if the correct disposal method is not used for biomedical waste, it could result in a pollution incident. And while there are many consequences that can arise from the improper pickup and transport of medical waste, there are also unforeseen accidents that can take place even if all the correct regulatory procedures are followed.
The Professional Liability exposures for these risks are also important to consider. Both sharps and soft biomedical wastes must be handled, contained, transported, and treated/disposed of following all local, state, and federal regulations. Therefore, a lot of medical waste pickup companies also provide training to help ensure regulatory compliance. Medical waste disposal companies may also provide training on the correct classification of waste types, which can help their clients to reduce costs. But if the company provides incorrect or outdated information in their trainings, the cost of a claim stemming from bodily injury, property injury, and/or business interruption could be devastating to the insured.
For medical waste disposal companies, we can offer General Liability with Contractors Pollution Liability and Professional Liability, a Combined Contractors Pollution/Professional Liability policy if the GL is already placed elsewhere, or a Site Pollution Liability, including GL, for facilities the contractor may own.
- Contractors Pollution Liability is intended to protect from third party claims for damages caused by pollution conditions arising from the insured’s covered and completed operations at a job location. While a medical waste pickup insured may only be picking up biomedical waste at job sites, having Contractors Pollution Liability is often a contract requirement for clients the company may be doing business with.
- Transportation Pollution Liability is intended to protect from pollution conditions caused by “over the road” transportation. It can cover insureds or third party carriers that transport products that could cause a pollution condition. This coverage can also include loading/unloading should the insured’s cargo create a pollution condition. Transportation Pollution Liability could be very helpful for medical waste pickup companies who are more likely to have a pollution condition during transport from one site to another.
- Premises Pollution (Site) Liability is intended to protect from claims arising from pollution releases at, on, or emanating from a specific scheduled location. This coverage could also be very important for a medical waste disposal company with a treatment facility, whose pollution conditions would be more likely to happen at their own facility rather than at a job site.
Agents should be aware of the associated risks and the coverages needed for this class of business. For more information regarding medical waste disposal companies, including claim scenarios and account submission information, contact us.