Environmental Liabilities in Education
Liability Insurance: Environmental
Have you completed your environmental exposure review? Basically, this review uncovers what your educational institution is exposed to and helps prepare you for the worst.
Let’s point out a few unique exposures to get the creative juices flowing:
- Improper maintenance of or emissions from boilers, ovens, refrigeration systems, etc…
- Contamination and/or inadequate review of items donated to the university
- Exposed asbestos near storage tanks or piping
- Inadequate records of prior occurrences, disposal locations or handling practices
The list goes on and on.
What kind of numbers – or money – are we talking about? Here are two recent examples:
- Maintenance, as it relates to air quality, was an important factor in one institution’s $400,000 loss. Improper maintenance of HVAC systems in a dormitory resulted in mold and mildew formation in the duct work. A huge clean-up effort ensued, and fortunately, there have been no instances of sickness at this time.
- A university disposed of lab waste via the school wastewater treatment plant. The plant failed and the publicly owned treatment facility was exposed to toxic liquids resulting in a charge to the university of $650,000 for cleanup and loss of income.
Unfortunately, there are many ways your institution may be exposed to environmental hazards. Hopefully, this list heightened your awareness and will inspire you to proactively look at environmental exposures within your school or university. Your institution’s risk manager or leadership team should perform an overall facility and exposure review. This may lead to a report and follow-up training sessions.
Finally, ensure awareness of environmental handling and emergency response is communicated amongst faculty, students and third parties. If you have further questions about building a risk management program to combat environmental liabilities, talk to an ‘A’ Team member.
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