Plumbers have pollution exposures from many sources, ranging from their owned premises, over the road pollution, uncovering or exacerbating existing mold/asbestos/lead, job site pollution caused by contaminants the contractor brought to the site, and many others. We have compiled some plumbing insurance claims to explain some of the problems that can arise for these contractors.
A plumbing contractor disposed of sealant and solvents containing toluene in a covered, enclosed dumpster after performing routine finish work. Acting like a confined space, the dumpster trapped the toluene fumes which depleted the oxygen levels. After climbing into the dumpster for unknown reasons, two young old children were overcome by fumes and died. The contractor faced a sizable claim resulting from improper disposal of the toluene.
A residential plumber was called in to do a simple repair on a third floor commode. Their newest apprentice replaced the leaky flush valve and left the job. As this was a second home, it was several weeks before anyone noticed the water running out of the back door. When the owners got to the house, they found mold growing throughout the first and second floors, hanging in some places like Spanish Moss. The entire house had to be gutted and refinished, costing the Insured well over $600,000.
While performing building renovations, a plumbing contractor used gas powered generators and equipment. The contractor failed to properly vent or contain the emissions from the equipment during operations. Employees working in a nearby area of the building complained of headaches, nausea and respiratory problems. The results of an air quality study concluded that the increased carbon dioxide levels in the building resulted from the construction equipment. The contractor was liable for causing building-related illnesses that resulted in multiple bodily injury claims.
A plumbing contractor acting as the general contractor was responsible for overseeing a sewer rehabilitation project. During excavation of a trench, the bucket of a backhoe hit a natural gas line. This forced evacuation of the immediate area, including a small strip mall. Store owners filed loss of business claims against the contractor.
During sewage installation, a plumbing contractor improperly tied in piping. This caused raw sewage to migrate into the underlying groundwater and contaminate residential wells. The contractor was faced with defense costs as well as sizeable to property damage and bodily injury claims from the residential community.
A plumbing contractor was dismantling laboratory piping at a university when he inadvertently spilled mercury. The result was building-wide mercury contamination. The contractor spent well over $350,000 to clean up the spill.
A maintenance bay that used solvents for parts washing performed the work over a drain leading to an on-site septic system. Over time, the septic system leach fields migrated into the surrounding soils and groundwater. At the time of the septic system closure and conversion to a public sewer system, the contamination was discovered. Site remediation involved soil removal and the installation of a groundwater recovery system. The costs exceeded $720,000.
These claims examples have been provided to us by our insurance companies over the years. These represent actual environmental claims they have seen. While the coverages we offer are designed to address these general issues, we make no guarantee or warranty that any individual policy we offer will respond to all issues as described herein. Please refer to the actual policy wording in each offered form to determine coverage applicability and acceptability.