Wrong Place, Wrong Time!

Claims scenarios

Be ready when life happens. These industry-trend situations illustrate the variety of environmental exposures that could affect your customers!

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Looking to expand its operations, a company purchased a large piece of property that seemed suitable for redevelopment. Prior to purchase, the company went through proper due diligence and conducted a Phase I site assessment.
Environmental reports did not note any contamination onsite, but during the excavation process, an underground storage tank was discovered.

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The developer was required by state regulatory authorities to collect, test and treat groundwater pumped out during the excavation process. Findings from the new environmental investigation noted soil contamination. Localized groundwater contamination was found on adjacent properties whose main stream of water supply was provided by wells.

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The adjacent properties filed bodily injury and property damage claims against the company. The contaminated soils were excavated and properly disposed. Groundwater remediation and monitoring continued until state regulators could provide clean closure of the contaminated site.

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Construction delays and additional expense were incurred by the developer. Since the company was insured by Great American’s Premises Environmental Liability policy, the bodily injury and property damage costs incurred by the incident were covered.

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Car Service Center:
An oil water separator for a car service center developed a fracture in one of its underground pipes. Over time, oil seeped from the system into the surrounding soil and groundwater, contaminating both the car dealer’s land and a neighboring property. The extent of the contamination was not realized until an oil sheen was noticed on a nearby stream. An investigation was undertaken and resulted in a contaminated soil and groundwater treatment program. The need to quickly mitigate impacts to the stream required an expedited remediation schedule, further increasing the cleanup costs.

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Storage Tank:
The insured was hired to remove an old underground storage tank (UST) from claimant’s property. The insured failed to confirm that the tank was completely empty. During removal work, the tank was damaged and the remnants of petroleum in the bottom of the tank, leaked to the ground. The insured was required to remove that contaminated soil and perform confirmation testing to ensure that it was all removed.


A leaking pipe from an underground storage tank (UST) was discovered on an insured’s property. The leak caused petroleum contamination in the soil and groundwater. The State regulators were notified and required investigation and cleanup of soil and groundwater.


During routine tank tightness, the insured discovered that the related piping systems for one of its petroleum USTs was leaking. The insured was required to notify state environmental regulators and perform an investigation and cleanup of the property.

The claims scenarios depicted above illustrate the variety of environmental exposures your clients may face. All situations are unique! The terms, conditions, exclusions, and limitations in any policy may vary.  Our team of experience underwriters, dedicated claims handling unit and technical support staff understands these unique environmental exposures and can work with you to help tailor a policy to find acceptable coverage and claim solutions for your clients!

To help you address these as well as other environmental exposures with your clients, visit our new Claims Scenario Library. You can find more examples illustrating the various environmental exposures that could affect your customers!

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Greg Kelder Divisional Senior Vice President and Manager, Director of Claims
Great American Environmental Division

Greg Kelder is a Divisional Senior Vice President with Great American Environmental and serves as Head of Claims. He has more than 30 years of environmental claim experience. Greg brings specialized environmental claim support and training to our division and is based out of the Exton, Pennsylvania office

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