Pollution liability can be a major problem for trucking companies. Typical business automobile liability insurance policies exclude coverage for losses caused by the release of pollutants. These policies define pollutants broadly as any irritant or contaminant, including smoke, vapor, soot, fumes, acids, alkalis, chemicals and waste. At some point, most trucking companies will transport something that qualifies as a pollutant just given the broadness of the definition. Therefore, the pollution exclusion in the traditional policy can create a major gap between a company’s risk exposures and their insurance coverage.
How Can Trucking Companies Close The Gap In Coverage?
One way that companies can seek to close this gap in coverage is through CA 99 48. CA 99 48 is an endorsement available on many commercial automobile policies to add broadened coverage for pollution liability. The endorsement is a standard form which changes the definitions and applicability of the standard commercial automobile policy language. The endorsement is available from most carriers for an additional premium.
CA 99 48 Is Not A Magic Bullet
CA 99 48 does not solve every pollution liability for a trucking company, however. The endorsement covers only a specific subset of pollution claims. Specifically, the endorsement adds back coverage for the release of pollutants at the demand or order of another entity. It may not cover self-initiated clean-ups. It will also generally only cover testing, monitoring, and clean up costs. It will cover damage caused by the release of pollutants if a suit is brought by a governmental authority, but may not provide such coverage beyond that.
Exceptions In Coverage With CA 99 48
CA 99 48 has some other exceptions as well.
- It will not cover costs arising from the release of pollutants during the loading or unloading of a vehicle.
- It generally does not cover liability assumed by contract.
- It will only provide coverage for the release of pollutants being transported on a covered automobile, and thus will not provide coverage for other types of transit or for non-covered automobiles.
How MCS-90 and CA 99 48 Work Better Together
Under the Motor Carrier Act of 1980, all trucking companies operating in interstate commerce must have a MCS-90 endorsement. This endorsement guarantees that your insurance company will pay the initial amounts for any environmental liability you cause. But it grants the insurance company the right to recover those amounts paid from your company if the claim would not be otherwise covered. The CA 99 48 endorsement can cover some of a company’s exposure created by MCS-90, but not all of them. Trucking companies need to contact their insurance broker for a full and detailed discussion of their exposures so that their broker can recommend the appropriate way of covering their pollution liability risk.