Success stories

Environmental spill reporting success stories

  • Persistence pays off

    A collision between two tractor trailers resulted in 85 drums of hazardous waste catching on fire and discharging a large quantity of waste into the soil. Through Zurich Environmental Emergency Response, a proactive discussion began immediately with the cleanup contractor. The contractor had classified the soil as hazardous waste that needed pre-treatment prior to disposal through incineration. Zurich requested that the stockpile of contaminated soil be resampled to determine if the soil could be reclassified for disposal.

    After additional disposal sampling was performed, the soil was reclassified as a hazardous waste that could be disposed of locally, meaning a lower disposal rate per ton. This disposal rate difference created a cost savings of $388,035. On top of these savings, transportation was reduced from $4,150 per load to $2,367 per load because the soil could be brought to a closer facility. Finally, upon review of the cleanup contractor invoicing, Zurich noted that the fuel surcharge was applied across the entire costs of the initial invoice. Additional negotiations reduced this amount as well.

    Total cost savings = $453,509.25


    Please note that reporting a spill to Spill Center, Inc. does not constitute reporting a claim, nor does it guarantee that a spill is covered under your policy. The Zurich Environmental Emergency Response system is not intended to be a substitute for reporting claims as required by the policy terms and conditions. 

    This is intended as a general description of certain types of services available to qualified customers through the companies of Zurich in North America. Your policy is the contract that specifically and fully describes your coverage. The description of the policy provisions gives a broad overview of coverages and does not revise or amend the policy. We not guarantee a particular outcome, reduction in costs and further assume no liability in connection with the providing of these services.
    Spill Center, Inc. is not a subsidiary or affiliate of Zurich. Zurich expressly disclaims any and all damages and other costs that may arise related to the use of or reliance upon the products, services, representations or warranties made by or on behalf of Spill Center, Inc. 

  • Quick analysis reduces clean-up costs

    More than 4,000 gallons of methanol based cleaning compound were dumped into a creek when a tanker truck struck a bridge abutment. Initially, the Texas Department of Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) representative ordered that the water in the creek and nearby pond be drained and scraped. This scope of work would have involved a large amount of equipment and personnel along with large quantities of soil and liquid disposal costing in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Once the incident was reported on Zurich Environmental Emergency Response, we retained a local environmental consultant who determined that the methanol compound released would evaporate and degrade within eight days with no residual left behind. Based on this information, the TDEQ agreed to a less aggressive approach comprised of remediation of gross soil contamination and sampling of soil and surface water to confirm that the compound had degraded. Within two weeks of the incident, sample results confirmed that the contamination was below regulatory standards. Additionally, our onsite consultant reduced the project costs by having subcontractors bill our insured directly, reviewing contractor costs, and negotiating regulatory response costs.

    Total reduction in clean-up costs = $305,271


    Please note that reporting a spill to Spill Center, Inc. does not constitute reporting a claim, nor does it guarantee that a spill is covered under your policy. The Zurich Environmental Emergency Response system is not intended to be a substitute for reporting claims as required by the policy terms and conditions.

    This is intended as a general description of certain types of services available to qualified customers through the companies of Zurich in North America. Your policy is the contract that specifically and fully describes your coverage. The description of the policy provisions gives a broad overview of coverages and does not revise or amend the policy. We not guarantee a particular outcome, reduction in costs and further assume no liability in connection with the providing of these services.
    Spill Center, Inc. is not a subsidiary or affiliate of Zurich. Zurich expressly disclaims any and all damages and other costs that may arise related to the use of or reliance upon the products, services, representations or warranties made by or on behalf of Spill Center, Inc. 



Environmental commercial Real Estate and brownfields success stories

  • Coverage for the past, present and future

    A national real estate and development firm had big plans to turn a former landfill and low-income public housing project in Florida into a new mixed-use, multi-family property, which would meet the needs of the community and local government. Neither the broker nor developer were veteran brownfield redevelopment players, and each sought guidance on environmental insurance matters.

    Zurich was asked to help determine the appropriate environmental insurance coverage, especially since it involved the sensitive issue of turning a prior unregulated landfill into residential use. Not only did the developer need to be insured for certain potential risks, but contracts also required that the city as the prior owner, the lender, and the contractors and subcontractors working on the remediation and removal of the contaminated soil be insured as well. Because of prior experience as an environmental consultant, Zurich’s underwriter was able to effectively communicate with the stakeholders, making them aware of certain technical issues in regards to the soil contamination, which included polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, lead, arsenic and pesticides, and how they could be managed.

    Both the broker and developer were impressed with the flexible nature of Zurich’s Z Choice™ Pollution Liability insurance policy that offered coverages for:

    • Onsite and offsite cleanup of both known and unknown pre-existing and new pollution events
    • Third-party bodily injury and property damage arising from both known and unknown pre-existing and new pollution events
    • Natural resource damages for pre-existing and new pollution events
    • Non-owned disposal site coverage
    • Mold insurance coverage 
  • Flexibility at the holidays and beyond

    The middle of December and the busy holiday season may not seem like an ideal time to be reviewing environmental exposures, especially for a large real estate investment trust (REIT) with dozens of regional malls and outlet centers. The REIT found itself needing to review exposures for all its 383 properties across North America, Europe and Asia, and determine the right solution before the end of the year—just a few weeks away.

    Zurich’s environmental underwriting and risk engineering team spent two full days at the company’s U.S. headquarters reviewing environmental documents and reports for all properties. Zurich was able to save the REIT substantial time and effort during the end-of-year time crunch by conducting an on-site underwriting review. The Zurich team familiarized themselves with the REIT's exposures, and identified a comprehensive list of environmental insurance coverages needed. These included: costs to clean up mold, asbestos and other pollution resulting from tenant occupancies such as retail drycleaning and automotive repair operations; cleanup costs resulting from migration of pollution from adjacent properties; and potential costs associated with compensating third parties for property damage and bodily injury. In the end, the REIT purchased a Z Choice™ Pollution Liability Insurance Policy from Zurich to address their environmental needs. The flexible design of Z Choice could cover a large number of locations (or a single site) as well as a wide variety of pollution exposures. 


Environmental contractors success stories

  • Experience shows in the details

    A large environmental contractor in New England operates a wide range of services to dozens of municipalities and environmental consulting firms across the region. Its services include: water and wastewater management, construction and operation of water and wastewater treatment systems, preventative maintenance programs, system support and inspection services for dozens of municipalities and environmental consulting firms across the region. An error in this contractor’s work for a municipality or consultant could affect the water supply for millions of people or potentially contaminate regional surface waters.

    The company’s revenue base had increased by 25% in recent years, and a new broker was brought on board to take a more comprehensive look at its environmental risks. When Zurich’s underwriter was called in to discuss potential risks, we were providing the contractor with a seasoned professional—someone who had more than 25 years of underwriting, civil engineering, risk management, and environmental consulting knowledge. New insights offered by Zurich led to an enhanced Contractor’s Pollution Liability coverage over the previous policy.

  • A refreshing approach to service

    With nine regional offices spread throughout the United States, a specialty environmental contractor needed a high degree of hands-on attention when it came to managing the potential risks of its asbestos abatement and mold remediation services. Because of the large size and complexity of its potential exposures and broad geographical reach, Zurich determined this contractor required a single primary and dedicated contact to coordinate the program. This customer solutions director would oversee everything on the account from risk engineering to claims, providing the company with a consistency and ease of managing its insurance program.

    The company’s CEO found Zurich’s dedicated approach to its coverage needs “refreshing.” Zurich’s capabilities of writing all lines of coverage also made a difference. A comprehensive program was crafted that included workers’ compensation, auto, excess, general liability, surety, railroad protective liability and pollution liability. Zurich’s specialized Contractor’s Pollution Liability provided coverage for third party bodily injury, property damage including clean-up, and mold coverage.


Environmental financial institutions success stories

  • Creating a portfolio of efficiency
    A large commercial bank was looking for an efficient way to handle their potential environmental liability exposures when making loans backed by small commercial real estate. Zurich was asked to develop a lender portfolio program tailored to the bank's lending group. Once Zurich’s program was put in place, the lender discovered that more loans could now be made because loan officers no longer had the time-consuming task of reviewing environmental site assessments. Because of the success of this portfolio program, Zurich was asked by the lender to develop portfolio programs in two other lending units.
  • Moving at the speed of a deal

    A lender was interested in providing a very large loan ($60 million) to a commercial borrower. The loan had 100 fast food franchise restaurants as collateral, and there was not enough time to obtain and review environment site assessments on all of the properties within the two week window available to complete the deal. The lender was willing to accept an environmental escrow from the borrower, but the cost of the escrow to the borrower was 5 times higher than the cost of insurance. As an alternative to the escrow, the lender accepted environmental insurance for this loan. The borrower paid the cost of an environmental insurance policy for the lender in place of providing funds in an escrow account for the 10 year loan term.

    Zurich reviewed the existing environmental information, obtained current environmental questionnaires and ran database reports on each of the sites. In short, Zurich was able to underwrite the deal and bind it within the two week deadline. 


Environmental site owners and operators (non-RCRA) success stories

  • Selecting the right insurance ingredients

    Producing and distributing more than 400 varieties of dressing and sauces, this large food manufacturer provides its products to retail food companies and foodservice operators throughout most of the US, and enjoys sales of $160 million annually. It operates three main production facilities in the Northeast, Southeast and West, and also offers custom production, labeling, and packaging services for other food manufacturers.

    One of their main environmental exposures is the potential for business interruption that could occur because of a pollution event with their operations. For example, production could be disrupted because of a significant release of canola or vegetable oil that is stored in 20,000 gallon above ground storage tanks.The company found Z Choice™ offered just the type of insurance ingredients they needed, as it offered a great deal of flexibility to customize coverage to fit their specialized needs---- from business interruption to non-owned location coverage and first and third party transportation.

  • Collaboration for enhanced customization

    One of the world’s leading fertilizer and special chemicals companies had made more than $100 million worth of capital improvements to enhance their risk profile in recent years. The company felt that the benefits of these improvements weren’t reflected in its existing environmental insurance coverage. So the company invited a new broker to approach Zurich and several other carriers for a fresh evaluation and to provide an alternative coverage approach.

    As part of Zurich’s evaluation, our underwriting and risk engineering representatives and a risk engineer from Zurich Services Corporation traveled with the broker for a hands-on look at their production facilities abroad. We also collaborated with the company’s outside legal counsel and insurance consultant to work through the multitude of hazards unique to their fertilizer and chemical production sites. In the end, the company chose to go with Zurich because of our ability to customize coverage through our Z Choice™ product. This approach enabled the company to modify coverage as needed for its various sites, resulting in a more effective and efficient insurance program. 

  • Finding the right chemistry

    A chemical manufacturer and blender, supplying some of the largest players in oil and gas industry was seeking a new insurance provider. The producer and policyholder were seeking a customer centric insurance carrier that could deliver the perfect mix of coverage flexibility, risk engineering personnel with in-depth industry knowledge and responsive claims service. The company's business was heavily dependent on its fleet of hundreds of specialized vehicles and its ability to transport specialty chemicals and other blended products to its customers on time and safely. Because of the ever present potential for accidents and spills that could seriously disrupt its business and reputation, the company was also looking for specialized risk engineering insights along with quick and effective claims and spill handling capabilities.

    Of critical importance to the company was its desire to operate its fleet safely and the company's requirements to comply with Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. As part of their presentation, Zurich risk engineers offered to perform mock audits to help the company identify whether it had the proper controls in place as required by the DOT. Zurich also suggested that the company could benefit from its Spill Reporting Online System, a 24-hour service that facilitates a timely response by dispatching clean-up contractors, coordinating regulatory reporting and efficiently managing claims. And Zurich's Z-Link®, an environmental policy product allowed the company to combine general liability, environmental liability and clean up costs in one policy. Flexibility, knowledge, service-Zurich offered the perfect coverage chemistry to help meet this company's needs.