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August 12, 2021

9 Professions that Need Pollution Liability Insurance

When most people think of pollution liability, they think of pollution coming from manufacturing facilities or major oil spills. Though these also fall under this type of insurance policy, the concept of pollution liability is much more broad. It can also happen in indoor or outdoor settings. 

This is why a number of businesses, including construction, paving/roadwork, HVAC, commercial cleaning companies, and many more are exposed to various pollution liabilities. 

In this article, we break down what pollution actually means and how pollution liability arises. We will also name some businesses or lines of work that are in need of pollution liability insurance.

A landscape contractor applying pesticide to a garden bush

What Is Pollution and Pollution Liability?

To show the wide array of pollution liabilities that can occur, let’s start by defining what pollution actually is. Pollution is the discharge or release of an irritant, contaminant, or pollutant (whether it’s solid, liquid, gaseous, or thermal). This can occur in both indoor and outdoor settings.

The point at which an incident of pollution becomes a pollution liability is when it becomes harmful or disruptive to people or wildlife. In Canada, environmental claims can go well over $100,000. A major percentage of this total cost is due to the following:

  • Clean up costs
  • Emergency response costs
  • Medical costs and long-term/severe health damage in affected individuals 

What Does a Pollution Liability Policy Cover?

Liabilities stemming from incidents of pollution are typically excluded in CGL (Commercial General Liability) insurance plans. This is why businesses with a high risk for pollution incidents, whether gradual, sudden, or related to mould/legionella, are recommended to get pollution liability insurance as part of their insurance bundle. 

Pollution liability insurance will cover clean up costs, emergency response costs, medical costs, and legal fees after sudden pollution, gradual pollution, or contamination with mould/legionella linked to your business operations.  

Professions and Businesses That Need Pollution Liability Insurance

1. Manufacturing Companies

Manufacturing companies typically handle, store, and transport various chemicals. Some of these chemicals may be harmful to both people and the environment. In cases when storage tanks leak or there is a spill during transport, the manufacturing company could be liable for the incident of sudden pollution. 

2. Construction Companies

Aside from handling, storing, or transporting various chemical compounds that could leak or spill, construction companies also operate various kinds of machinery that could spring a leak when damaged.

Moreover, pollutants like silica dust, mineral dust, and demolition dust, which are all common construction pollutants, could also impact nearby residents. 

3. Renovation Contractors

Though renovation contractors don’t have to worry as much about massive leaks or spills, the biggest pollution risk for this line of work is actually the fact that they go inside client homes and properties. As such, wrongly mixed chemicals could result in hazardous fumes. 

Moreover, if mould is found after the renovation work, they could be liable for it if a strong enough connection exists between the work done and the proliferation of mould. 

4. Excavation Contractors

Excavation contractors work with powerful machines to dig deep into the ground. The risk lies in what can be struck whilst doing so, such as a natural gas line. Arguably, striking a natural gas line is a form of air pollution and one that carries numerous impending hazards. In such cases, immediate emergency response is needed.  

The machinery could also strike a forgotten underground storage tank containing petroleum or hazardous substances which could leak and cause soil pollution. 

5. Landscaping Contractors

Landscape contractors handle a number of chemical compounds such as herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. These chemicals are routinely used, and if it ends up in a body of water, the landscaping contractor could face pollution liabilities. 

A landscape contractor applying pesticide to a garden bush

6. Street, Road, and Paving Contractors

These contractors regularly transport materials like asphalt and tack coat to their project site. An accident on the road can lead to a massive spill which counts as a sudden incident of pollution, needing a prompt cleanup. 

The risks faced by street, road or paving contractors are compounded by the fact that they regularly do excavation work. 

In addition, street, road, or pavement contractors may need to work near bodies of water from time to time. They can then be liable for incidents purely not within their control – such as rain washing a fresh coat of tack into a nearby body of water. 

7. Plumbing Contractors

Plumbers regularly go inside homes and properties to carry out repair tasks. This puts them at risk of being sued for mould contamination on the appliances that they work on. This allegation can be compounded if the leak inside the drywall is not effectively repaired, causing the mould to spread. 

8. HVAC Installation/Maintenance Contractors

Contractors who install or maintain HVAC units are open to the risk of being sued for legionella contamination. This type of bacteria can thrive in contaminated air conditioning units, causing serious health damage to the occupants of the structure. 

9. Commercial Cleaning Companies

Commercial cleaning companies work with a number of hazardous chemicals to carry out their job tasks. A few examples could include formaldehyde, ammonia, sodium hydroxide, and so on. Poorly mixed chemicals or inappropriately handled chemicals can have reactions that produce toxic fumes, thereby polluting the indoor area. 

Get Personalized Pollution Liability Insurance That You Can Count On

In this article, we covered the businesses or lines of work that are most susceptible to pollution liability. If you work in the mentioned industries or in a somewhat similar industry, now is the best time to consider getting pollution liability insurance. We can assist you with that. 

Contractors Insurance is an Ontario-based, award-winning insurance brokerage firm. Our personalized pollution liability insurance will cater to your specific needs or preferences regarding coverage for sudden pollution, gradual pollution, mould & legionella.

This way, you get the exemplary coverage you need to run your business with unparalleled peace of mind. We also offer first-class assistance throughout the entire process, from setting up your insurance plan to following up on claims. This is the most hassle-free insurance experience you will find. 

To learn more about what we can do for you, feel free to contact us today! 


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