“Pollutants” are Excluded from Coverage in CGL Policy

Your commercial general liability (CGL) policy will contain a pollution exclusion. Thus, if you work with any substance that could be regarded as a “pollutant,” consider procuring pollution liability insurance.    A “pollutant” in a CGL policy has been defined as:

“Pollutants” mean any solid, liquid, gaseous or thermal irritant or contaminant, including smoke, vapor, soot, fumes, acids, alkalis, chemicals and waste. Waste includes materials to be recycled, reconditions or reclaimed.

For example, a catering vendor was sued when a liquid nitrogen infused alcoholic beverage  damaged a guest that consumed the beverage. The court held that liquid nitrogen constituted a pollutant as defined in the CGL policy (based on the above definition).  

What did this mean?  This meant there was NO coverage for the catering vendor for the damages sustained by the guest that consumed the beverage.  Why?  Because the liquid nitrogen was a pollutant and the CGL policy contained an exclusion for property damage or bodily injury caused by a pollutant.  

Please contact David Adelstein at dadelstein@gmail.com or (954) 361-4720 if you have questions or would like more information regarding this article. You can follow David Adelstein on Twitter @DavidAdelstein1.

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