For those injured by an environmental event, like a pollutant release or toxic exposure, the kind of insurance policy present is essential to how a claim is made. Depending on the type of insurance policy, a business or property owner may be at greater financial risk. Suppose an event related to your business or property occurred over an extended period. In that case, this event may be categorized as a single event or as multiple events depending on the policy language. You need to know whether a sequence of the same incident will count as a singular event or if your deductible and policy limits will be applied to each instance of the incident in question.
Understanding what constitutes an ‘event’
With an event that caused bodily injury or property damage, the policyholder has to work with their carrier to determine if there were one or many ‘events.’ This number is so crucial because it can significantly affect the money involved in the claim. Having multiple events can increase the number of deductibles an insured person or entity needs to pay.
Occurrence policies vs. claims-made policies
Occurrence-based policy: ‘Occurrence’ policies have the distinction of providing a lifetime of coverage for incidents that occurred during the policy periods. In such cases, it would not necessarily matter when a claim is reported, even if it is years after the end of the policy period.
Claims-made policy: Alternatively, a ‘claims-made’ policy may cover those incidents within and reported during the policy’s specific time frame.
Claims for incidents with multiple events
In the case of pollution cases, or where there were many separate incidents regarding the same contamination source, you may end up paying more than you anticipated with your insurance. It is crucial that you carefully select an insurance policy and do the work necessary to determine whether a claim is composed of multiple events.