Natural Disasters

When a natural disaster impacts a populated area, contamination can follow. Environmental coverage becomes imperative when the run-off from flooding or ash from fires can pick up pollutants and have the potential to release them into the environment.


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A design/build contractor was retained to design and re-construct an aging/deteriorating dam and related outflows. Following re-construction of the dam by the contractor, a 200+ year storm affected the area. The design specifications did not address a storm of this magnitude and the storm resulted in excessive erosion around a dam outflow. The outflow failed as a result of the erosion causing debris to enter a nearby river system. Claims arose for both professional liability for negligent design and also for pollution due to the debris in the river system.


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A retail store which had an underground parking garage beneath the store was in the path of a severe hurricane. As a result of the torrential rains, the lowest level of the parking garage was completely flooded. As a result of the water intrusion there was sewage backup as well as gasoline and other automotive fluids released from vehicles left in the parking garage during the storm. Cleanup was required for both the petroleum impacts and the sewage. In addition, a business interruption claim was made due to the odor impacting the ability to operate the retail store above.


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A general contractor was building a multi-building wood frame apartment complex. After framing had begun and before the building envelope could be completed, a series of rainstorms affected the area. Over the course of several months rain impacted the site numerous times per week, in an area where this had historically not been an issue. As a result of the constant rain impacts, mold developed throughout the project. Due to the constant rains, not only was the building envelope not able to be completed, but dry out became difficult. The mold spread throughout the building impacting the building materials and structural members. A claim was made for cleanup and business interruption.


  Download the Natural Disaster Claims Scenarios

Interested in learning more about natural disasters in our industry?


Our team of experienced underwriters, dedicated claims handling unit and technical support staff understands the unique environmental exposures depicted above and can help tailor a policy to find acceptable coverage and claim solutions for your clients!

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The claim scenarios in this newsletter are provided to illustrate the variety of environmental exposures faced by your clients. The facts of any situation which may actually arise and the terms, conditions, exclusions, and limitations in any policy in effect at that time are unique. Thus, no representation is made that any specific insurance coverage applies to the above claim scenarios.

Any insurance product and coverage descriptions in this newsletter are summarized. Please refer to the actual policy declarations and policy form for a complete description of all applicable terms, conditions, limits and exclusions. The insurance products described in this newsletter may not be available in all jurisdictions. Products are underwritten by Great American E&S Insurance Company, a surplus lines insurers. We also have the ability, in many states, to offer admitted paper through Great American Insurance Company, following the applicable state’s deregulation or exemption guidelines. The information presented herein is not intended as a solicitation or offer to sell any insurance product in any jurisdiction in which such solicitation or offer, or any sale or purchase of the described insurance products would be unlawful under the insurance laws and regulations of such jurisdiction.