Samantha Longo, a broker with national wholesale broker and managing general agency Worldwide Facilities (WWFI) said that while WWFI does provide environmental coverage for agricultural clients, she has not seen a big run on that coverage.
“There hasn’t been a huge increase in that lately, but over the years there definitely has been growth. We’re seeing the largest exposure with crop dusters, those people spraying pesticides. We have seen a few situations where they have over sprayed and contaminated a neighboring crop, so the neighbor sues, saying they have lost an entire crop, they have lost their potential for future sales so it falls back on the famer, on the sprayer, even on consultants who have said you should use this pesticide,” she said.
She said they have also seen situations where there has been runoff from one property to another of contaminated water, and that WWFI can provide coverage for such situations.
Longo said agriculture pollution policies remain a tough sell. “A lot of farmers, even though they have the exposure, they don’t think they can afford to buy the coverage so they aren’t buying it. They buy the minimum GL that is required. On those policies, one of the carriers is Nationwide Ag and they provide $1 million (in pollution coverage in some GL policies) but most claims come in for well over $1 million. We are seeing claims in excess of $5 million, and for the guys that don’t purchase, it can put them out of business.”
If agriculture remains a tough sale, she said construction has taken off. “One area we see it required more and more is by contractors. We see that all the time with environmental and non-environmental contractors being required to carry contractor pollution coverage. If you are working on a project of any size you are required to carry it. Obviously this is the case if you are in asbestos or sewer, but we even see it on electrical, and that is pretty easy to place. There are so many markets, so much capacity, it is very competitive today,” she said.