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Patricia O'Connell
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Insurance Practice Partner Laura Foggan Discusses Pollution Coverage under CGL Policies

Business Insurance
February 21, 2011

Laura Foggan, a partner in the Insurance Practice, was quoted commenting on the ongoing debate on whether commercial liability insurance policies cover pollution risks. After years of litigation, the introduction of pollution exclusions and an environmental market specifically created to target this exposure, legal wrangling over the issue continues.  “Although the pace of litigation seeking coverage for pollution risks under CGL policies picked up substantially after the passage of Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, commonly known as Superfund, insurers began carving out pollution risks from CGL coverage using endorsements as early as 1970,” Ms. Foggan said. “The creative advocates for policyholders managed to get some coverage by giving a nontemporal meaning to the word ‘sudden,’” she added. The article notes that, despite several decades of litigation, issues such as how the terms “sudden and accidental” and “pollution” are defined, and the increase in substances that can cause damage or injury, are examples of some of the points still at issue in ongoing environmental coverage litigation.