Copyright (c) 2000 Northern Kentucky University
Northern Kentucky Law Review
ARTICLE: ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ISSUE: Environmental Contamination and the Application of the Owned Property Exclusion to Insurance Coverage Claims: Can The Threat of Harm to the Property of Others Ever Get Real?
27 N. Ky. L. Rev. 505
by Robert A. Whitney n1
The discovery of environmental contamination typically is the beginning of a long process involving local, state and federal authorities in the determination of the scope of contamination, and the remedial activities that will be required to clean up the pollution. When the contamination is centered upon a particular piece of property, the regulatory authorities often look first to the property owner to finance the costs of investigating and remediating the contaminated site. The property owner will then often look to its insurance carrier to provide it coverage for the clean-up costs involved. Under such circumstances, it is to their general liability insurers that the property holders look for insurance coverage.
General liability insurance coverage, provided in the form of a policy commonly referred to as a comprehensive or commercial general liability insurance policy (collectively, "CGL policy"), provides that the insurer agrees to "pay on behalf of the insured all sums which the insured shall become legally obligated to pay as damages because of bodily injury or property damage to which this insurance applies, caused by an occurrence." n2 An "occurrence" is typically defined as "an accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to conditions, which results in bodily injury or property damage neither expected nor intended from the standpoint of the insured." n3 The term property damage is usually defined in a CGL policy as "physical injury to or destruction of tangible property which occurs during the policy period, including the loss of use ...
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