Finding lost policies may be the only way that some of these clients can keep their doors open in these situations.
Indianapolis, IN (PRWEB) June 03, 2015
David O’Neill, Director of Investigations at PolicyFind, an Indianapolis-based insurance archeology firm and division of Enviroforensics recently addressed the California Groundwater Law Conference hosted by the American Ground Trust in San Francisco. His presentation, titled "Finding Evidence of Historical Liability Insurance to Provide Defense to Groundwater Contamination Litigation", was primarily directed at California environmental lawyers defending clients against environmental agencies responding to the release of chemical contaminants into aquifers. This presentation, along with others to follow in the coming year, is crucial to the dialogue on helping businesses, particularly in the dry cleaning industry, during a time when perchloroethylene remediation is more and more necessary. O'Neill will release more on the discussion in the blog series on PolicyFind's website.
Manufacturers and dry cleaners in California, as well as other states, are presently challenged with covering the cost of groundwater investigation and cleanup. General liability insurance policies issued during the years that the pollutants entered the environment have the potential to bring needed funds to these defense activities, yet they are often lost or destroyed by the time the contamination is detected. “Most historical insurance policies remain unclaimed,” O’Neill states. “This is either because the policyholder doesn’t realize their value or because he mistakenly believes that it takes a complete insurance policy to support the claim.”
Mr. O’Neill has worked as an insurance archeologist for more than twenty years. As Director of Investigations at PolicyFind, O’Neill often conducts searches for lost insurance under contracts with law firms representing owners or operators of businesses on environmentally impaired properties. “Over the years, I have retrieved thousands of policies with occurrence limits that total in excess of a billion dollars,” O’Neill explains.
PolicyFind has discovered that many of the small business clients being served face the possibility of financial devastation from the cost of compliance with environmental agency directives once contamination is detected. “Finding lost policies may be the only way that some of these clients can keep their doors open in these situations,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill spoke about the evidence that business policyholders can use to document lost general liability insurance policies and adequately support insurance coverage for environmental property damage claims. “The policyholder’s duty in these matters is to prove the existence, terms and conditions of his policies,” O’Neill stated. “It doesn’t take a complete policy to accomplish this, however only certain insurance documents are adequate to the task. Due diligence in this regard often requires the hiring of an insurance archeologist.”
O’Neill’s presentation was part of the overarching discussion, The Use of Insurance to Resolve Groundwater Litigation and Fund Cleanup. Other presenters included John R. Till, Managing Partner at Paladin Law in Walnut Creek, California and Canaan Crouch, Vice President of Legacy Risk Solutions, LLC in Irvine, California.
For more information on how to pay for perchloroethylene cleanup or groundwater contamination, contact Enviroforensics at 866-888-7911.
About PolicyFind and EnviroForensics:
PolicyFind, a division of EnviroForensics, performs Confidential Insurance Archeology® for property owners and stake holders faced with environmental cleanup. Enviroforensics provides advanced, comprehensive engineering and litigation support services to businesses, law firms and municipalities. The firm devotes itself to accurate, defensible work products on time and within budget. The team of engineers and scientists resolve environmental issues cost effectively to protect the long-term interests of its clients. EnviroForensics has offices in Indiana, Wisconsin, and California.
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