News and Views

June 21, 2018

Risk Tip – Contractor’s Pollution Liability: Mold vs. Bacteria

By: Jeff Slivka

Even though mold continues to be of concern for many carriers, especially with regard to resulting property damage, many insurers offer mold coverage as part of their overall Contractor’s Pollution Liability (CPL) program. Depending on the type of business or work/project types conducted by the firm, it could be provided on an occurrence or clams made basis. However, bacteria, specifically Legionella Pneumophila, is found to be less common and typically must be added via endorsement. When carriers provide coverage for “microbial matter” it’s prudent to ensure it not only provides coverage for mold, fungi, mildew and the like, but also bacterial matter.…

June 19, 2018

Environmental Insurance Coverage: Now you have it – now you don’t

Source:, June 15, 2018
By: Dawn M. Meyers, Berger Singerman LLP

In the transactional world, it has long been standard operating procedure to conduct due diligence and, should environmental conditions be found, contract around them through the use of indemnifications. With a booming economy, though, sellers in a seller’s market have grown less willing to offer indemnification, pushing buyers into the realm of environmental insurance. Increased demand for their product, however, combined with the knowledge gained from a growing body of claims experience have led insurance companies to “refine” their product to limit their risk. Tighter definitions combined with a new wave of exclusion endorsements require environmental insurance buyers to be particularly cautious and aware of what they are purchasing and what they are not.

Take for example the potential landmines in the Definitions section of a typical environmental policy. Coverage could be lost here in a number of ways. To illustrate this, let’s examine three common definitional pitfalls.

First, many policies will cover cleanup costs recommended by an “environmental professional.” Purchasers who have conducted due diligence may get comfort from this definition since they have already retained an environmental professional to advise them. However, some policies define “environmental professional” to mean only a licensed professional designated by the insurer and, as such, recommendations by a purchaser’s professional may be insufficient to insure coverage.…

June 19, 2018

Hurricane Season is Here Again: Preparing for the Worst with the Right Insurance

By: RT New Day, June 19, 2018

Here we go again. The hurricane season officially began June 1 with AccuWeather predicting three to five major hurricanes between now and November.

Last year, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria caused nearly $300 billion in total damages, while negatively impacting millions of lives. That’s because even after the flood waters receded, water contaminated by sewage and debris as well as mold and other microbial matter continued to impede cleanup and create health issues.

This is just part of the ongoing pattern. Wrecked homes, miles of flooded real estate and mold everywhere besieged New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. In Sandy’s aftermath, many homeowners, commercial businesses and public housing authorities spent hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars on mold problems that weren’t covered by many existing insurance policies.…

June 18, 2018

Legionella found during water tests at VA hospital in Loma Linda

Source: Orange County Register (CA), June 14, 2018
Posted on:

Legionella bacteria was discovered Wednesday, June 13 at the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial VA Medical Center in Loma Linda, a facility at the center of a federal whistleblower complaint from a group of worried physicians and nurses.

Hospital officials learned of the Legionella through quarterly water safety testing, according to Wade J. Habshey, spokesman for the Pettis Medical Center.

“This does not mean there is a Legionella outbreak,” he said in a statement. “The facility has a zero-tolerance policy for Legionella.”

Mitigation efforts are underway and out-of-service signs have been placed in front of affected rooms and drinking fountains as a safety precaution.

“Service chiefs are notifying staff members as appropriate” regarding the remediation, Habshey said.

Information was not immediately available regarding how long it will take to remove the Legionella or whether patients have been transferred to other rooms during mitigation efforts.…

June 14, 2018

Legionnaires’ disease case suspected at UW Medical Center

Source:, May 23, 2018

A case of suspected Legionnaires’ disease has been found at the University of Washington Medical Center — the third time in as many years that the disease has been suspected at the facility.

UW Medicine and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance report a suspected case of Legionella pneumonia involving a patient in a SCCA Hospital at the UW Medical Center.

Officials said the patient “has been diagnosed with a highly probable healthcare associated Legionella pneumonia.”

The patient is in satisfactory condition and is responding well to treatment, officials said.

“We believe this is an isolated case, and Legionella bacteria are rarely, if ever, transmitted from person to person,” UW Medicine and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance said.…

June 14, 2018

Design errors, delays add $408M to construction costs for Fort Bliss replacement hospital

Source:, June 13, 2018
By: Alia Paavola

A federal audit found the construction of El Paso, Texas-based William Beaumont Army Medical Center’s replacement facility was plagued with hundreds of design errors, time delays and contract changes, which put the project three years behind schedule and added $408 million in costs, according to the El Paso Times.

The original construction cost for the medical complex at the Fort Bliss army post in El Paso was $812.8 million. Those costs included $648.9 million for the six-building hospital complex as well as additional contract costs, according to a 127-page report released by the inspector general of  the U.S. Defense Department.

In May 2017, the U.S. Defense Health Agency, one of the parties overseeing hospital construction, notified Congress that the budget for the new complex had increased to more than $1.2 billion.…

June 8, 2018

Bacteria Causing Legionnaires’ Disease Found At Wayne State

Source:, June 7, 2018
By: Jessica Strachan

Legionella, the bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease, was discovered in several Wayne State University buildings.

Legionella, the bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease, was located in several Wayne State University buildings, according to reports. The university began testing for potential legionella sources after an employee in the Faculty Administration Building was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, WDIV reported. Cooling towers on three campus buildings tested positive for legionella.

Remediation in those three towers began immediately Wednesday evening using the prescribed disinfection process, the university said. Legionella was also identified in a private bathroom in the faculty building, in a first-floor men’s bathroom in Scott Hall next to room 1200, and in a men’s bathroom next to room 118 in the Cohn Building. The bathrooms will be closed until they can be further evaluated.…

June 6, 2018

State: McLaren Flint was primary source of Legionnaires’ outbreak

Source:, May 30, 2018
By: Kristen Jordan Shamus

It couldn’t have been just the switch in the source of the water that caused the 2014-15 Genessee County Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that sickened 90 people and killed 12, a report released Tuesday from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services suggests.

Rather, the state’s top health officials say that following a lengthy investigation, only one source of contamination was found that explains the majority of the increase in cases — a common exposure at McLaren Flint Hospital.

“No other large building with high-risk plumbing was identified as a common source of exposure,” said MDHHS spokeswoman Angela Minicuci, noting that the department also investigated contamination at other large-scale, high-risk facilities such as health care centers, grocery stores, shopping centers and long-term care facilities.

For the study, the MDHHS completed the histories of 83 of the 90 people who had Legionnaires’ disease in 2014-15. Of them, 51 had exposure to McLaren Flint Hospital.

June 4, 2018

Judge declines to dismiss lawsuit over toxic Monroe schools

Source:, May 18, 2018
By: Kari Bray

Monsanto is accused of sickening adults and children by exposing them to toxic substances.

A company that has faced lawsuits around the country recently sought dismissal of a local case in which families say they were sickened by toxic chemicals at school buildings in Monroe.

A King County judge last week denied Monsanto Co.’s motion to dismiss a complaint that seeks damages for health issues allegedly caused by exposure to synthetic chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls. Monsanto produced PCBs for decades. Production was banned by law in 1979, with the Environmental Protection Agency calling PCBs “toxic and persistent chemicals.”

The suit was brought in King County Superior Court in January by attorneys with Seattle’s Friedman Rubin law firm. They are representing adults and children who say they became ill after spending time on the campus at 351 Short Columbia St. It has housed the Sky Valley Education Center, which includes a popular parent partnership program, since 2011. The buildings previously were a high school, junior high and middle school.…

May 29, 2018

Last gasp for hog farm suit: ‘We don’t want to be hostages’

Read here about a lawsuit against a hog farm for horrendous odors.…