Some people purchase general liability insurance thinking that insurance takes care of any and all problems that arise in business situations. General Liability and Business Owners Policies cover the following:
• Personal injury
• Injury to others on the owner’s property
• Property damage
• Harassment suits
• Wrongful termination lawsuits
• Discrimination suits
• And more
However, there’s a case in the courts right now that is being watched carefully by corporations and insurance companies alike. The case was initially brought by a village in Alaska claiming that AES Corp. caused harm to their village as a result of global warming through the emission of greenhouse gases. In most cases, the company would be covered by insurance, however their insurance company refused to cover the case because in order to be covered an “occurrence” must have happened, or something unknowable. The occurrence must be something that has happened as a result of the company’s operations that the company was unaware would have negative consequences. However, if the company had knowledge of the possible consequences of its actions, then insurance doesn’t cover the claim.
In other words, if you pour chemicals you know are harmful into a waterway and then get sued for polluting the water and killing wildlife, insurance won’t cover you because you purposely caused damage to the waterway, knowing there would be ill effects.
What’s interesting in this case is that global warming for a long time was contested scientifically. Even the terminology changed from ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change.’ The question of whether or not the insurance company will cover the claim goes to the question, did the company know that their emissions were affecting the environment in a negative way?
However, if a company created a new substance, like a new paint for houses and was unaware that a chemical in it could cause harm, like lead once did, then they would be covered by their insurance company.
Insurance companies work to protect you from occurrences outside your control. Accidents, goods somehow contaminated without the company’s knowledge, such as in restaurants with food contamination and more. We are here to protect you against unforeseeable problems, however insurance companies do not cover intentional damage.
Curious about what else insurance does and doesn’t cover? Call Richard Turner San Diego Insurance Company. We would be happy to help clarify any questions you might have.
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