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Legal Guide

Many umbrella liability policies or contractors’ general liability policies, contain absolute pollution exclusion clauses. However, a number of policies dealing with specific environmental risks are now underwritten in Canada. For soil remediation projects below a threshold clean-up cost, it is possible to obtain cost-cap policies contingent upon the provision of a detailed cost estimate and environmental report prior to underwriting. Environmental impairment liability policies are available to insure against the risk of third-party claims due to off-site migration. Policies are also available to insure against future pollution events on a property and for undiscovered contamination. Contractors’ pollution liability insurance is available to insure against pollution caused by specific operations. This provides a useful supplement to umbrella liability policies containing pollution exclusion clauses.

As the cost of performing environmental clean-ups to regulatory standards has increased substantially, the role of environmental insurance in Canada has expanded. While the market for environmental insurance in Canada is still developing, new products are being added in response to a variety of situations. Environmental insurance will soon become a feature of most corporate transactions.

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