Insurance 101 – Chapter 4 – Volume 37 – More Pollution – 2

More Pollution – 2

Whether the pollution exclusion language precludes coverage for the injuries suffered by a plaintiff is based on the terminology used in the exclusion. As a matter of law, one court found that the absolute pollution exclusion does not exclude coverage for injury resulting from exposure to fuel fumes in a confined area in a workplace. The Supreme Court of Ohio considered the pollution exclusion in the context of carbon monoxide from a faulty residential heater in Andersen, 93 Ohio St.3d 547, 2001- Ohio-1607, 757 N.E.2d 329. The genesis of the exclusion was to exclude intentional polluters from protection from the results of their improper or illegal conduct. The Andersen court then noted that, based on the purpose and history of that exclusion, the insured could reasonably believe that residential situations would not be excluded unless the insurer specified the exclusion. The Andersen syllabus states: “Carbon monoxide emitted from a residential heater is not a ‘pollutant’ under the pollution exclusion of a commercial general liability insurance policy unless specifically enumerated as such.” In Ohio, the court therefore concluded that aircraft fuel fumes that are confined to the tanker during repairs, as alleged in this action, are not pollutants under the exclusion clause.

The following video was adapted from my book, “Insurance Claims A Comprehensive Guide” Published by the National Underwriter Company and is available at the Zalma Insurance Claims Library

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