Environmental insurance coverage can involve to a wide variety of different types of claims, including both first and third-party insurance and implicating many industries. Under U.S. environmental laws, such as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”), companies can face extremely expensive litigation decades after their acts or even the acts of their acquired companies. When this happens, the coverage picture is often very complex, involving the interrelationship of many years of coverage, which varies drastically across different jurisdictions. Environmental insurance coverage claims often arise in a variety of contexts:

  • Receipt of an EPA Information Request Letter
  • Receipt of an EPA Potentially Responsible Party (“PRP”) Letter
  • Prosecution of a CERCLA Action by the EPA
  • Release of a Pollutant on Your Own Property
  • Release of a Pollutant on Third Party Property
  • Release of a Pollutant in the Course of Transportation
  • Bodily Injury Through Exposure to a Pollutant
  • Business Interruption Resulting from Contamination

There are a host of coverage issues that give rise to coverage disputes in the situations described above:

  • Meaning of “Pollutant”
  • Trigger of Coverage for Continuous Injury Claims
  • Allocation of Coverage Across Multiple Triggered Policies
  • Efficient Proximate Cause Analysis
  • Whether EPA Letters Constitute a “Suit”
  • Claims-Made Reporting Issues
  • Missing Policies for Older Pollution Events
  • “Other Insurance” Clause Disputes
  • Horizontal vs. Vertical Exhaustion
  • “Stacking” of Limits

SDV and its Environmental Coverage Practice Group are experienced with these complex issues through practice and publication. We attack pollution coverage as holistically as possible, from policy review and improvement prior to placement to litigation of coverage disputes post-pollution incident. SDV always operates with the singular primary goal of maximizing coverage for environmental liabilities, regardless of whether that means advising our clients in the policy placement process or guiding them through the insurance recovery process.

For more information, please email us at coverage@sdvlaw.com.


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