Legal liabilities are one of the biggest headaches a business owner can face. They can easily develop into huge financial strains, with the potential to deplete your savings and even put your business in jeopardy. Finding means of alternative funding is essential to cover these costs, and you want to be prepared to do so.
PolicyFind™ is here to help. We have been successful in helping clients throughout the country with a range of legal issues, including environmental and products liability as well as workers compensation.
Historical commercial general liability insurance policies can provide a significant source of alternative funding when dealing with outstanding and sometimes hidden liabilities. Older policies, written before insurance companies began specifically excluding things such as pollution can represent millions of dollars of finances and other resources that can be used to defend policyholders against environmental property damage, product liability workers compensation claims. Unfortunately, old insurance documents are often lost or destroyed.
PolicyFind’s expert insurance archeologists have a high success rate in finding historical insurance policies for their clients and have even been able to recover evidence of old policies long thought lost or destroyed. However, sometimes policyholders have already used their own funds to deal with liabilities related to environmental remediation, product recalls and other issues. Whenever possible in thse cases we work to recover these expenses for our clients from their historic insurers.
Brent Huber, a partner at law firm Ice Miller LLP in Indianapolis, explains the value that locating historical insurance policies can have for business owners: “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.”
PolicyFind’s expert insurance archeologists are here to help you find old policies to help cover the environmental, products and workers compensation liabilities that arise without without harming your bottom line.
PolicyFind™ restores financial value to contaminated properties by locating historical insurance policies that may cover site investigation and cleanup costs.
Environmental liability is retroactive; so that a business or property owner can be held liable for contamination years after the business or property has been sold.
Historical insurance coverage remains attached to contaminated properties which enables redevelopment authorities to collect funds of now defunct corporations.
Historical CGL policies that provide coverage for remediation can translate into cash for settlements and help brownfield redevelopment
Confidential Insurance Archeology™ reconstructs historical land use and coverage of past owners and operators who may have contributed or caused contamination. A Responsible Party can include past owners/operators or companies that generated or transported hazardous materials to a contaminated site. Responsible parties may be liable for cleaning up the environmental Contamination. PolicyFind™ can identify and locate those parties financially responsible for cleaning up contamination as well as finding the historical policies that provide coverage for clean up.
PolicyFind™ routinely works with environmental regulatory agencies at the local, state and federal levels.
The biggest question facing one of these agencies on addressing clean up of a site or redevelopment of a Brownfield is funding. Many times, local governments and environmental agencies are faced with funding or working with a remediation project possessing little funding or no means of recouping those funds. It is often found that with grants, incentives and the like, countless projects still fail. Regulators are faced daily with the task of enforcing the environmental codes against small businesses that do not have the adequate funding to conduct soil and groundwater investigations, let alone an expensive site clean up…
PolicyFind™ is able to identify the historical primary responsible parties or property owners and find their insurance policies. This information can then be used to make claims with the result being money to pay for site investigation and remediation. In many instances the monies that have been spent can be recovered.
As every state is unique in their laws regarding utilizing old insurance coverage for environmental contamination defense and indemnity, we recommend consultation with our professionals and qualified legal council.
In many cases the regulatory agency is trying to help the small business address their environmental contamination issues. One way that they can help is by being aware that PolicyFind™ can find old insurance policies that can pay for site investigation and remediation activities. While regulators may not be allowed to give our name directly to companies under enforcement, knowing that we exist and letting the company under enforcement know about such services could be of great value to those companies. Our approach has a proven track record and we would be pleased to present the concept of Insurance Archaeology to your Group or Section in the form of a lunchtime brownbag discussion.
Real Estate Developers
Most often redevelopment projects are driven by private real estate investment. Real Estate Developers need to have shovel-ready properties to get projects completed on time and within budget. Sometimes, despite due diligence and best efforts, environmental issues arise. In other situations, a developer will intentionally purchase a Brownfield or known contaminated property because the property has been drastically discounted. Regardless of situation, PolicyFind™ can help find the funding for remediation!
PolicyFind™ is able to identify the historical primary responsible parties or property owners and find their insurance policies. This information can then be used to make claims, resulting in money to pay for site investigation and remediation or to recover clean up costs incurred by the developer. Since every state is unique in their laws regarding utilizing old insurance coverage for environmental contamination defense and indemnity, we recommend consultation with our professionals and qualified legal council.
PolicyFind™ works with EnviroForensics™ to benefit real estate developers and property managers.
PolicyFind™ can help before property is acquired. During your due diligence process, PolicyFind™ can investigate the potential for utilizing past insurance coverage as a funding mechanism. Therefore when purchasing the property you have a more calculated risk. With this competitive advantage your basis cost of real estate will shrink while your profit potential grows!
When found in a situation that an environmental problem is going to kill the project, call on PolicyFind™. Controlling the expenses of remediation and getting the project back on schedule is imperative. We have many tools at our disposal to help find the funding for remediation. Additionally, we have been involved with many property transactions and can help keep the deal moving forward.
An easy decision for environmental consultants: because we find funding for your projects.
The biggest question that faces any potential Brownfield or clean up project is funding. Many times, consultants are working with on a clean up project or for a municipal client that does not have the adequate project funding. Federal and State Brownfield grants are great, but they generally can’t get a project through the entire site clean up. PolicyFind™ can help get projects started and keep them moving. Over the years, we have helped hundreds of business owners, municipalities, and developers find old insurance policies to conduct environmental investigations and cleanup soil and groundwater contamination.
PolicyFind™ is able to identify the historical primary responsible parties or property owners and find their insurance policies. This information can then be used to make claims with the result being money to pay for site investigation and remediation. In many instances the monies that have been spent can be recovered. As every state is unique in their laws regarding utilizing old insurance coverage for environmental contamination defense and indemnity, we recommend consultation with our professionals and qualified legal council. We encourage you recommend to your clients they find and safely store historical insurance policies or any evidence that they bought insurance. This practice can be worth millions of dollars, literally.
PolicyFind™ is happy to work either directly for consultants or the clients. PolicyFind™ can go back in time as long as is necessary and possible to find the required information. We are receptive to discussing any opportunity and giving you our opinion on feasibility and potential. Additionally, confidentiality is core to any investigation PolicyFind™ undertakes.
PolicyFind™ helps attorneys by finding evidence that can be used in court to defend their clients. Although all projects we do are confidential, a key benefit for attorneys hiring us is that our services are performed under attorney-client privilege, so any report we provide you will not be discoverable.
A major service PolicyFind™ provides attorneys is locating historical insurance policies for their clients facing a range of legal issues, including lawsuits and demand letters from regulatory agencies requiring them to spend money for environmental investigation or cleanup. Additionally, we have experience helping attorneys deal with product and workers compensation liability. We have even helped churches and schools locate evidence of insurance defending them against claims of sexual battery.
PolicyFind™ has successfully located insurance policies as requested by attorneys representing:
- Plumbing and building supply companies defending against product liability claims for asbestos containing products sold;
- Manufacturers of pumps defending against asbestos gasket exposure claims;
- Churches and schools defending against personal injury claims from alleged sexual batteries by clergy and/or teachers;
- Dry cleaners defending against environmental property damage claims brought by neighboring business property owners;
- Business property owners defending against regulatory claims by state and federal environmental regulatory agencies; and
- Insurance companies defending policyholders against environmental property damage claims that wish to identify contributory insurance coverage for other potentially responsible parties.
Two other great resources PolicyFind™ offers to attorneys are our specimen library, which can be used to find generic examples of certain policies, and Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) Searches, which can be used to find other responsible parties.
“You may have millions of dollars you didn’t know about stored right on your property”
Textile Rental Magazine
Those quotes are from a recent interview you may have seen in Textile Rental Magazine as Mr. Henshaw explained that policies written before 1972 or 1973 don’t have the same exclusions for pollution as current policies contain.”That means that if you ever did any dry-cleaning at your plant and had harmful solvents that leaked into the ground, there is a good chance you could use insurance to cover the cost of the investigation … and the legal fees incurred in negotiating a cleanup settlement-if the policy was written before 1972. Even if the policy was written between 1972 and 1985/86, you might be able to use it to pay for the investigation and legal costs, as policies written during that period covered accidents that caused environmental damage,” wrote Thornburg.
“In almost every instance, if you were running a dry-cleaning business you would have experienced an accidental spill or sudden release of dry-cleaning solvents. These spills and releases, more times than not, have caused some amount of soil and/or groundwater contamination. It doesn’t take very much solvent to create an environmental problem,” Henshaw told Textile Rental.
Using ‘insurance archeology’ techniques, PolicyFind™ can recover evidence of old policies, if not the policies themselves. Henshaw talked about his company being in business to make sure properties remain assets for their owners, not liabilities.
“Often the cost of the site investigation and clean-up is more than what the property is worth. Some people bury their heads in the sand and hope that by ignoring the problem of solvents leaking into the groundwater, they won’t have to deal with it. And some states are lax with their environmental regulations and that may be OK temporarily from a business perspective. But when these people go to sell the property, the buyer will conduct a due diligence that can be expensive for the current owner. If evidence is found of contamination, there is a legal requirement to report it, and then dry cleaners or other business owners will be subject to all of the legal requirements of cleanup.”
EnviroForensics™ was started in the 1980s as a full service environmental consulting firm that began specializing in finding old insurance policies to offset cleanup costs for dry cleaners and other in the laundry industry. That service led to the establishment of a new division called PolicyFind™ that reconstructs insurance coverage for companies facing any type of long-tail (or long term) claim which typically include environmental issues, employee misconduct, or product liability. “We also work with municipalities to cleanup contaminated brownfield sites to bring communities back to life,” said Henshaw. The CEO has personally been involved with hundreds of drycleaners, drycleaning sites and site closures, as well as dozens of sites targeted for cleanup by municipalities.
Catholic Archdiocese (United States)
A large urban Catholic Archdiocese in Midwestern state needed to locate its historic insurance policies to respond to parishioners’ claims of past sexual abuse by clergy. General liability and public liability insurance policies were located to provide defense and indemnity.
State Environmental Protection Agency (Midwest United States)
Conducted insurance archeology and PRP search for parties that owned, operated, transported or disposed of waste materials at five orphan sites in a Midwestern state. Follow-up work included locating historic insurance policies to support claims to provide cost recovery for state superfund expenditures.
Bulk Oil Facility (Northern Indiana)
Bulk fuel oil and gasoline distributor in northern Indiana needed evidence of insurance to respond to property damage claims. PolicyFind found historical policies for the petroleum marketer and is in the process of tendering claims to the carrier on behalf of the policyholder.
One-Hour Dry Cleaner (Terre Haute, Indiana)
Dry cleaner needed evidence of old general liability insurance to support claims regarding soil and groundwater contamination. Policies and secondary evidence of coverage for policy periods from 1973 to 1997 provided the basis for successful claims with three different insurers.
Mesothelioma Victim (Midwest, United States)
Attorney representing factory worker with alleged injury from exposure to asbestos fibers needed to identify asbestos distributor’s product liability insurer. Located and retrieved liability policy with potential to respond to these claims.
Hospital Trust (Longview, Washington)
Due diligence project for a hospital trust incident to purchase of real estate required locating lost policies insuring former owners. Previous owner’s insurance documents provided basis for successful transaction.
Management Company (Muncie, Indiana)
Located and retrieved general liability insurance evidence for former dry cleaner in response to state action regarding alleged soil and groundwater contamination. Evidence of insurance for 1981 policy period provided basis for insurer defense obligation and joint defense with another PRP at this site.
Religious Not-For-Profit Organization (Eugene, Oregon)
Located and retrieved general liability insurance for religious charity landowner responding to state’s clean up demands citing leaking underground storage tanks. Report depicting interrelationship of insurance policies issued to the property owner for policy periods from 1976 to 1988 provided the basis for a successful claim.
Drum Reconditioning and Chemical Distribution Facility (Rhode Island)
Conducted successful search for historical CGL policies on behalf of corporate counsel to provide defense against state’s demand for groundwater clean up from spilled barrels at chemical distribution facility.
Bulk Oil Facility (Northern Kentucky)
Bulk fuel oil and gasoline distributor in northern Kentucky needed evidence of insurance to respond to property damage claims. Located was insurance document identifying general liability carrier for historic period of contamination. Settlement negotiations with carrier successful.
Former Dry Cleaner (Chico, California)
Located and retrieved general liability insurance evidence for retired dry cleaner faced with clean up demands from state environmental authority. Evidence of insurance for 1981 policy period provided basis for insurance claim and defense obligation by insurer.
Medical Device Manufacturer (Yellow Springs, Ohio)
Medical instrument manufacturer required evidence of historic liability insurance to support claims for off-site property damage. Evidence of general liability insurance for policy periods from 1958 through 1985 provided corporate counsel with needed basis to support successful claims negotiations with several insurance carriers.
International Waste Hauler (Houston, Texas)
Located and retrieved evidence of general and excess liability insurance policies for approximately 1,000 waste hauling companies acquired by second largest waste hauling company in the world. These policies and assorted insurance documents provided the basis for some 200 claims at waste sites throughout the United States.