COVID-19: Pollution Legal Liability
For the latest information and resources on Coronavirus, please visit the RCM&D COVID-19 Resource Center at https://info.rcmd.com/covid19.
The coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) brings about much concern and uncertainty. Of particular concern may be the financial impact and economic consequences that may be imposed on businesses.
We are in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. It is a very fluid and ever-changing environment. As a result, it is difficult to know what the full impact of these circumstances may present in time to come. With potential widespread illness and financial losses, questions are sure to arise concerning the possible role of insurance to mitigate the damages and/or to provide relief for such losses. While insurance policies vary for each line of business, the coverage provided by each policy also differs. There are exclusions in policies that may or may not address issues related to COVID-19. Likewise, insurance carriers’ interpretation of coverage often differs as well. At this time, we do not know what coverage decisions will be made by carriers in response to losses related to COVID-19, so we offer the following information as a general overview of the various insurance coverages and how they traditionally respond. But again, because states are now proposing legislative changes we cannot anticipate how these changes may impact your specific insurance coverage at this time.
Pollution Legal Liability
According to recent communication from RT Specialty, coverage may be available to certain businesses through existing Pollution Legal Liability (PLL) policies via Disinfection Expenses. While these policies often provide coverage for viruses and bacteria, there are numerous restrictions that may be written into the policy language. Coverage restrictions may include “Communicable Disease Exclusions, Coverage sublimits, and/or a requirement that the virus/bacteria be facility-borne.”
Businesses could incur disinfection costs and might be forced to temporarily close by governmental authorities. Coverage could be triggered depending on policy language. Policies typically require that locations be scheduled for coverage to apply.
We are in unchartered territory in the United States and internationally. If you believe that you may have a claim, or circumstance that could lead to a claim, we continue to recommend that you report all claims or potential claims to their appropriate carriers per the instructions provided in your Claim Reporting Manuals. While there may be exclusions in your insurance policies that could apply, as circumstances continue to change, we are starting to see States proposing new legislation surrounding various exclusions.
Be assured that RCM&D strives to advocate on behalf of every client. When coverage is denied or disputed, our team will assist in evaluating the carrier’s position against the policy language. Every effort is made in assisting our clients with negative coverage determinations. We will continue in that regard as well to COVID-19 related claims. Any valid and appropriate argument will be considered to advocate on behalf of our clients when coverage is disputed.
RCM&D is making every effort to anticipate our clients’ questions and concerns during these ever rapidly changing times. If there are any questions, or if further assistance is needed with the claim process, please let us know.