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Insurance Recovery for Environmental Liability: Occurrences, Triggers, Exclusions, and Covered Damages

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will guide counsel to companies seeking insurance recovery for environmental liabilities. The panel will offer strategies for recovery under general liability and specialized insurance policies when environmental issues arise.


Environmental liabilities and related costs are a significant threat to a business's bottom line, and insurance coverage is a crucial source for recovery.

Insurance recovery to offset costs of environmental liability can be difficult, and policyholders face several hurdles. Policyholders may have to determine which policy or policies may cover defense and indemnity. The number of occurrences can have a significant impact on the total recovery.

Because most policies have limits related to occurrences, the definition of occurrence may determine how many times the insurance policy limits will apply to pay for a loss. Similarly, the number of occurrences may affect the number of deductibles applicable to a given claim.

Companies and their counsel should consider factors such as occurrences, exclusions, trigger issues, and covered damages. Counsel should prepare to counter insurers that try to allocate expenditures to the policyholder, general liability policies with another insurer, or specialized policies for environmental impairment liability, pollution legal liability, and remediation cost-cap policies.

Defense costs also can be considerable. Defense costs may be covered even if indemnity is not. What consultants and defense activities qualify as defense costs and what is and is not covered as a defense cost may make a big difference in your recovery.

Listen as our authoritative panel provides tactics for policyholders of general liability insurance policies and specialized policies to maximize recovery. The panel will examine the factors that should be considered, including exclusions and triggers, when evaluating insurance policies for recovery.



  1. Considerations for companies and counsel
    1. Whether cleanup costs are covered damages
    2. What exclusions apply
    3. What is property under the care, custody, or control of the policyholder?
    4. What is an occurrence?
    5. When does insurance coverage begin and end (trigger issues)?
    6. What is covered as a defense cost?
  2. Strategies for recovery
    1. CGL policies
    2. Specialized policies


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • How can policyholders maximize recovery for environmental liabilities?
  • What factors should companies and counsel consider when assessing the potential for insurance recovery?
  • What environmental costs are likely to be treated as covered damages?


Horkovich, Robert
Robert M. Horkovich

Managing Shareholder
Anderson Kill

Mr. Horkovich focuses his practice on the area of insurance recovery. He has obtained over $5 billion in...  |  Read More

Merrill, Anthony
Anthony W. Merrill

Snell & Wilmer

Mr. Merrill assists clients in obtaining insurance coverage for policyholders on catastrophic commercial claims. While...  |  Read More

Scott, Kennon
Kennon Scott, Esq.

Stoel Rives

Ms. Scott assists clients in various stages of complex commercial litigation and arbitration. She has experience...  |  Read More

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