A Broker’s Guide to Environmental Insurance: Unlocking the Potential of PLLP

Are you ready to supercharge your environmental insurance portfolio? Then you can’t afford to miss our latest webinar recording, ‘Unlocking the Potential of PLLP: A Broker’s Guide to Environmental Insurance.’ With top industry experts Kasey Jones and Samantha Linton sharing exclusive insights moderated by the astute Ben Stone, this is the ultimate resource for anyone serious about succeeding in the PLLP market. Discover game-changing coverage solutions, engage in a live Q+A, and get ahead of the competition. Dive in now to unlock the secrets of Pollution Legal Liability Plus and give your insurance portfolio the edge it deserves!

Get the Pollution Legal Liability Plus Insurance session handouts here:

Transcript & FAQ

+ Video Recording


Below are some of the insightful questions from attendees that sparked lively discussions during our session.

General Questions:

Q: What is your time frame for turnaround if you have all the underwriting information?
A: We can turn around in as little as 24 hours if needed with a typical turnaround time of one business week.

Q: Please share a couple of real-world claims payout examples.
A: Here are a few real-world claims payout examples:

The state environmental regulatory agency notified the warehouse/industrial park owner that it had received a complaint regarding groundwater contamination at a neighboring site. An investigation revealed that a former park tenant caused the contamination by discharging production wastewater into a nearby storm sewer. The former tenant denied the allegation, and the state ordered the owner to start remediation of the site. The owner also faced lawsuits from surrounding property owners. The owner sued the former tenant for the recovery of cleanup costs. The investigation, cleanup costs, and legal costs exceeded $1,250,000.

A chemical manufacturing plant caught fire, emitting hazardous vapors into the air and hazardous liquids into the soil and groundwater. The air vapors and groundwater migrated to a number of nearby third-party properties. The neighboring community filed a class action lawsuit for property damage and bodily injury. In addition to these third-party claims, the plant’s owner incurred extensive costs to clean up surrounding properties and the site itself. Total costs from the class action and cleanup costs exceeded $5,000,000.

A dry cleaner located in a strip mall filed for bankruptcy, leaving behind contamination in the soil and groundwater, which led to an indoor air issue from soil vapor. The cleanup became the responsibility of the property/strip mall owner. The state regulatory agency required the owner to complete the site’s cleanup and notify surrounding property owners of the contamination, as it had migrated off-site. Cleanup costs and subsequent lawsuits from adjacent property owners exceeded $800,000.

A veterinary office was a tenant in a commercial office park. HVAC repairs were made within the building, and both workers and customers complained of headaches and nausea due to vapors from sealants used during repairs. The commercial office park was evacuated as a precaution until the fumes were gone; however, several people went to the hospital. The HVAC contractor who caused the problem did not carry pollution insurance and could not pay for the claims. The owner/landlord of the commercial office park incurred costs in excess of $75,000 for business interruption and bodily injury to third parties.

A child living in an apartment complex began experiencing breathing problems. An inspection of the apartment unit uncovered mold in the bedroom closet from a leak in the apartment unit directly above. The child developed asthma, and the family filed a lawsuit against the apartment complex for the child’s bodily injuries. The case resulted in damages and legal costs in excess of $500,000.

Policy Details:

Q: Are these claims-made policies? How do they respond when other CGLs are triggered?
A: Yes they are claims-made for most coverages, although Transportation coverage and contractor’s jobs site pollution coverage can be provided on an occurrence basis. Our base policy form is setup to be in excess of other valid and collectible to the extent GL cover would apply. That being said, we have the ability to modify the other insurance provisions by endorsement for our policy to apply as primary to additional insurance, including CGL, by endorsement.

Q: What types or sources of environmental data sets do you use?

A: We use the information provided in the submittal and public records available online through Federal, State, and local environmental agencies. We also have access to industry-specific environmental data sets that are available on a subscription basis.

Coverage Details

Q: Do any of your PLL forms/products offer options to endorse GL coverage in low-risk scenarios like site remediation?

A: We do not currently have a GL coverage offering within our environmental and construction pollution and professional team.

Q: Is this policy site-specific or comprehensive? Does it include the Contractor’s E&O with the “Plus+”?

A: Our pollution legal liability form is set up for scheduled site coverage but also includes coverage for non-owned disposal sites, transportation, and contracting services in support of the site operations. While we do not offer Contractors E&O on our PLLP form, we have a CPL/PL combined form/product and a team of underwriters supporting the product.

Q: Does Distinguished address coverage for Benzene?

A: Our definition of pollutant is designed to address the total pollution exclusion on the CGL and would address Benzene as it reads as follows:

Pollutants mean any solid, liquid, gaseous, or thermal pollutant, irritant, or contaminant, including smoke, vapors, odors, soot, fumes, acids, alkalis, toxic chemicals, hazardous substances, petroleum hydrocarbons, waste, including medical, infectious, red bag, and pathological wastes, electromagnetic fields, Low-level radioactive waste and mixed waste, methamphetamines and chemicals associated with the manufacture of methamphetamines. Pollutants include silt and sediment, but only to the extent such materials migrate beyond the boundaries of a job site because of Contracting Services.

Pollutants do not include mold matter or bacteria, including but not limited to legionella pneumophila, bed bugs, or any virus.

Q: Will you consider contractors for PLLP’s?

A: We can offer contractor’s job site pollution coverage, typically those contracting services supporting the site operations, if we provide it on our PLLP form. We also have a separate contractor pollution liability policy designed to address pollution exposures when contracting operations are the primary exposure.

Special Cases:

Q: Do you have a product specifically designed for condominium/community associations?

A: While we do not have a product specifically designed for condominium/community associations, we can underwrite these placements and have endorsements that are appropriate to this risk class.

Industry-Specific Questions:

Q: How does your service apply to hotels?

A: We do underwrite hotels on our PLLP policies.

Q: How does it apply to apartment owners?

A: We do underwrite apartments on our PLLP policies.

Q: Would you consider dry cleaners without a closed-loop system?

Dry cleaners utilizing Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) without a closed-loop system can present a complex underwriting scenario, often requiring detailed data analysis. However, our expertise equips us to evaluate these cases and extend coverage based on our assessments. While certain circumstances, like the age of a system or the absence of a closed-loop system, might deter us from covering cleanup costs, we can still provide coverage for third-party bodily injury and property damage.

Q: Can you help with a distribution-type operation where the risk may have to dispose of batteries?

A: We can assist with such an operation and have a Non-owned disposal site coverage offering built into our form.

Special Cases:

Q: Is there coverage for known releases without known damage or injury, like permit exceedances and TRI reports?

A: Our underwriting is very often about analyzing known conditions and our policy is setup with exclusionary giveback for these pollution conditions known and reported to us as part of the underwriting process.

Additional Considerations:

Q: How do retroactive dates affect the amount and type of coverage provided?

A: A retro date would limit the retrospective coverage as the pollution condition would have to commence on or after the retroactive date for coverage to apply. We often write policies with no retroactive date to provide full retrospective coverage for pollution conditions. Recent environmental assessment reports like Phase I and II environmental site assessments often support this.

Q: Will you offer terms with a $5 million limit?

A: We have a capacity of up to 25M.

Q: Can you provide insight into your site-pollution products not covered in this presentation?

A: We also have an excess premises pollution policy where we can provide up to 25M in limits over another carrier’s site pollution placement. Our team also has experience and products tailored to the contracting industry with policies for Contractors Pollution Liability (CPL), Contractors Pollution and Professional Liability (CPPL), and both Owner’s and Contractors’ Protective Professional Indemnity (OPPI and CPPI).

Q: What about coverage for storing used oil until a third-party vendor collects it?

A: We could consider used oil storage at a scheduled site as an offering on our PLLP form.

Special Cases:

Q: I would like to discuss the difference between pre-existing and new conditions coverage.

A: The main distinguishing factor between what is commonly referred to as pre-existing coverage versus new conditions coverage is when the pollution conditions first commenced, basically when the pollutant was first released into the environment. If the release first commenced prior to the retroactive date, if applicable, it would commonly be considered a pre-existing condition. Our underwriting process is often based on reviewing environmental assessment reports and our research to get comfortable providing coverage for pollution conditions released before our policy inception date.

Expert Panel:

Ben Stone, Vice President, Distinguished Environmental

Ben Stone is a Senior Underwriter at Distinguished, boasting a rich career spanning over 20 years in diverse environmental roles. He transitioned to Distinguished in 2023, following a specialized stint in pollution liability at AXA XL. Ben’s academic foundation is cemented with a Bachelor’s degree in Forest Resources. His professional journey has also traversed the spectrum of environmental consulting, encompassing lab analyses and stream restoration endeavors.

Kasey L. Jones, Senior Vice President, National Environmental Practice Leader, Distinguished Environmental

Kasey holds the title of National Environmental Practice Leader at Distinguished Environmental, bringing over a quarter-century of expertise in environmental underwriting, regulation, and consulting to the role. In 2023, paralleling Samantha’s move, he joined Distinguished through a collaboration with SiriusPoint. Before this transition, Kasey managed the western region for Great American Insurance Group, operating out of San Francisco—his residence. His leadership drove the region to become the highest performer at Great American while managing his client portfolio, notably in Premises Pollution Liability and Contractors Pollution Liability.

In earlier roles, Kasey contributed as a pollution underwriter at AIG and ascended to managerial positions across three environmental consulting firms located in San Francisco. His diverse career also saw him regulate hazardous materials for California’s Nevada County Environmental Health Department. Academically, he secured a Bachelor of Science in Biological Science from Cal State, Chico, in 1996. Additionally, Kasey is licensed as a California resident producer and holds a surplus lines license.

Samantha Linton, Vice President, Environmental Operations Specialist, Distinguished Environmental

Samantha is a seasoned environmental operations specialist with a 15-year trajectory in environmental underwriting and consulting. In 2023, a newly forged partnership between Distinguished and SiriusPoint marked her transition to Distinguished. Her tenure at SiriusPoint Environmental spanned five years, during which she managed a portfolio encompassing Premises Pollution Liability and Contractors Pollution Liability—a responsibility she continues to uphold. Prior to SiriusPoint, Samantha excelled as a master underwriter at Great American Insurance Group. Her readiness for these specialized insurance roles is well-founded, having honed her skills in environmental consulting as both an assistant project manager and a staff scientist at two New Jersey-based firms. Samantha earned her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from Gettysburg College in 2006 and calls the Philadelphia area home.

Distinguished’s team of underwriters, engineers, and scientists offers over 300 years of combined experience in environmental, construction, and insurance fields. We deliver customized solutions to safeguard your business against specific environmental and professional risks. Our advanced systems and customer-centric approach allow us to offer comprehensive coverage for facilities, contracting services, and professional liability, including both primary and excess options.

About Distinguished Programs

Distinguished Programs is a leading national insurance Program Manager providing specialized insurance programs to brokers and agents with specific expertise in Fine Art and Collectibles, Environmental and Construction Professional, Executive Lines, Inland Marine, Real Estate & Builder’s Risk, Community Associations, Hotels, and Restaurants. Property and Liability products are distributed through a national network of agents and brokers. Serving the same core markets and partnering with the most stable and reputable carriers, Distinguished’s high-limit Umbrella programs remain the clear choice in its area of specialty for superior coverage, competitive pricing, and attentive service. Through thoughtful innovation, stemming back to 1995, Distinguished Programs fosters growth and opportunities for its brokers, carriers, and employees.

View a full list of our programs and submit business with Distinguished.

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