Contractors Pollution Liability

Course Description
Pollution risks present unique challenges for contractors. While some pollution incidents are immediately apparent, others occur slowly, often undiscovered, for a period of time. In many cases, these damages may fall within the pollution exclusions of their commercial insurance policies. This contractors pollution liability (CPL) course was developed to examine the scope of contractors’ pollution liabilities, including the legal theories upon which they are based. The scope of coverage for these risks under basic policies—including the standard commercial general liability (CGL), business auto, and umbrella policies—is examined in some detail, with specific attention to the risks that are not covered under these policies. Finally, the course takes an in-depth look at CPL insurance and the scope of coverage available under these policies. CPL insurance is a nonstandard line of coverage; therefore, policy terms vary from one form to another. This course examines both the many similarities in these policies and the significant differences that can have a profound impact on a contractor’s coverage. A detailed overview of the purpose and function of CPL insurance is provided, including a discussion of coverage triggers, covered damages, exclusions, and policy conditions, to name a few. 

Learning Objectives
This is an intermediate-level self-study course. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to

  • identify the sources of pollution liability risks contractors face
  • differentiate between the three legal bases for pollution liability claims
  • recognize the nature and scope of contractors’ potential liabilities under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
  • recognize the scope of pollution liability coverage provided under the CGL, business auto, and umbrella policies, including standard endorsements
  • identify and explain critical gaps between contractors’ potential liabilities and the coverage provided under the basic policies
  • differentiate between the key elements of CPL policies, including the extent of variation in key policy provisions
  • recognize the nature of the key elements of CPL insurance policies, including the coverage grant, exclusions, and conditions of coverage
  • identify and assist with options for tailoring the scope of coverage to meet the contractor’s needs and objectives
  • recognize some of the unique challenges of assessing and insuring environmental liabilities in connection with a merger or acquisition


A basic understanding of CGL coverage and pollution liability.

CPE Field of Study
Management Services

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International Risk Management Institute, Inc. (IRMI) is the premier provider of risk and insurance continuing education and reference publications, and is considered the ultimate authority by leading insurance practitioners. Written by industry experts, IRMI courses provide the most up-to-date, practical and reliable information possible.

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