Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral. Because of its heat-resistant fibers, it was regularly used in housing insulation, among numerous other goods, from the 1940s through the 1970s. Besides being flame retardant, it was also an inexpensive material to use in construction, both in homes and commercial properties. Not only was it used in insulation, but also in other home construction materials including vinyl flooring, plaster, siding material, paint, HVAC ducts and more.
Of course, we know what happened later: We learned that prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to lung disease and a whole myriad of other medical conditions including cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.
When an inspection reveals asbestos, environmental contractors are often called in for asbestos remediation. Remediation involves not only removing the hazardous materials, but also cleaning up and restoring the affected area. In addition to removing all traces of asbestos, any damaged materials must also be repaired or replaced. This is important because damaged materials can release asbestos fibers even if they don’t contain any asbestos themselves.
Environmental contractors must have the proper liability insurance to cover asbestos removal exposures.
Asbestos remediation must be handled according to EPA standards. Environmental contractors must ensure they are following guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concerning the handling of asbestos and to avoid any liability exposures. The contractor could be legally liable for any asbestos exposure caused to others during the remediation process.
Liability damages could happen years after the remediation. The problem of addressing liability issues caused by exposure to asbestos is that the associated diseases from asbestos exposure may not show up for years. Asbestos lawsuits could result in substantial awards if the contractor is found to have been negligent in causing injury.
Insurance for asbestos remediation is a necessity for environmental contractors. A general liability policy does not adequately address the needs of asbestos remediation contractors. Because a business liability policy may exclude coverage for asbestos remediation, a specialty environmental liability policy is essential to cover any legal exposure.
Many people may think of asbestos as a problem of the past. However, asbestos can still be found. This is especially true as more people are looking to restore older homes and commercial properties.
Here at C&S Specialty Underwriters, we are specialists in environmental liability insurance products and can provide your clients with a liability package to protect their interests. Give us a call so that we can discuss the details and review the coverage options available.