The retroactive nature of long-tail claims makes occurrence-based CGL policies (comprehensive general liability insurance policies) very valuable to business owners, churches, school boards and landlords. These policies became available on the American market in the 1940’s. For an occurrence-based CGL policy to provide defense or indemnity, the property damage or bodily injury that triggers the policy must occur within the policy period. However, where the damage or injury does not become evident until years later (as often is the case with environmental damage, product liability or sexual misconduct scenarios), this insurance policy will still respond to a properly filed claim notice.
The comprehensive general liability policy insures business owners against claims made by parties damaged by the conduct of his employees, his products or his waste products provided that the damage occurs during the policy period and it is not the type of damage excluded under the language of the policy. Even where the employee’s sexual misconduct does not become evident some twenty years after the occurrence, this policy can still provide defense and indemnity. Even where the underground storage tank’s leak goes undiscovered for thirty years, as of the date the leak is discovered, the business owner can file a claim under his CGL policy issued the date the leak began. Even where the business owner’s product is not revealed as harmful for forty years, once its harmful effects surface, a claim can be filed under this policy issued when it was placed in the stream of commerce.
These are some very good reasons to treat your occurrence based comprehensive general liability policy like a valuable business asset. Yet often, business owners treat the CGL policy as if it had no value after its expiration date and they discard it with expired fire insurance policies to make room for new document storage. Should they try to obtain a copy of the policy at a later date they often find that the insurance broker issuing the policy has failed to keep a copy in his archives. Further, just knowing the identity of the underwriter does not provide the basis for an appropriately filed claim. Insurers receiving claim notices under comprehensive general liability policies without identifying policy numbers and policy periods typically reject the claim because they lack adequate information with which to locate the policy in their files.
“When old insurance policies are brought to the light of day, they put small business owners on the same playing field as governments and companies with deep resources.”
-Brent Huber of Ice Miller LLP in Indianapolis.
Steve Henshaw, P.G.
President & CEO
As President and CEO of Policy Find™, Mr. Henshaw serves as a client and technical manager on projects associated with site characterization, remedial design, remedial implementation, litigation support, responsible party searches, and insurance archeology matters. He has acted as Program Manager or Client Manager on over 200 projects.
Senior Insurance Specialist
Mr. Fassler has over 35 years of experience in the insurance industry. He held a variety of technical and managerial positions in the claims area during his career. Most notably, Mr. Fassler was the Senior Claims Analyst for environmental claims with Sentry Insurance, where he spent 15 years.
David O'Neill, J.D.
Director of Investigations, Insurance Archeology
David O’Neill has over 20 years of experience in claims recovery on behalf of corporate policyholders involving environmental property damage and toxic tort and asbestos exposure claims. He is an accomplished insurance archeologist with extensive experience in locating and retrieving insurance coverage evidence on behalf of potentially responsible parties responding to environmental investigation and remediation demands.
Kristen Brown brings more than a decade of research and managerial experience in broadcast journalism to the field of insurance archeology.
Executive Vice President, Director of Operations
Nancy Shields brings a vast array of marketing experience to Policy Find™. She has spent more than 19 years in the legal publishing industry with a special emphasis on legal research and law department technology. During this time, Ms. Shields worked as a sales consultant, calling on attorneys in corporate legal departments, law firms of all sizes and federal, state and county government.
Justin Gifford, Esq.
Justin Gifford is an Attorney and Insurance Archaeology/Recovery expert. Mr. Gifford’s expertise has focused on the impacts of current and emerging statutory and case law as well as shifting insurer positions on Policy Find’s services to its clients and providing insurance archaeology and claims management services to Policy Find’s clients as well as functioning as General Counsel for Policy Find’s internal legal needs.