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Bushfires. Severe storms. Cyclones. Floods. Landslides. Australia regularly experiences a range of natural disasters. They wreak havoc and cause great hardship for families and communities, including loss of life, injury, destruction of property, devastation to the landscape and more.

In the face of both the human toll and environmental damage, it can be easy to forget how natural disasters can impact business.

Yes, your business could fall victim to a natural disaster. A severe storm might cause roof and window damage to your premises. A bushfire might devastate your plant and operations. But have you thought about the fact that the impact of a natural disaster could result in your business causing environmental damage?

Some industries are clearly more inclined to be at risk of damaging the environment – the mining, waste, transportation, construction, chemical and food production sectors in particular. However any business that has the potential to pollute land, water or air through their activities should have a robust risk management strategy in place and insurance that responds should something go wrong.

Environmental liability insurance

Pollution incidents caused by your business can be hugely expensive to remedy. And once the clean up is done, you may still be faced with further costs. There’s the potential for litigation and indemnity costs, as well as third party claims and remedial enforcement actions brought by environmental agencies.

The purpose of environmental liability insurance is to cover the gaps in environmental liability coverage left by your existing insurances, thereby reducing your exposure to uninsured losses.

Coverage generally includes statutory clean-up requirements and third-party bodily injury and property damage claims, as well as legal expenses resulting from pollution incidents. The coverage kicks in for incidents that are both “sudden and accidental” and “gradual”. Coverage also exists for business interruption losses.

To properly protect your business in the event of a natural disaster, you need to think carefully about your operations and systematically identify all possible risks – big and small. A specialist insurance broker can help identify risks and advise you on the best environmental liability insurance policy to meet your individual needs.

Emjay Insurance Brokers has many years of experience dealing with industries that are exposed to high environmental pollution risk. For advice and guidance on environmental liability insurance, contact us on (02) 9796 0400.

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