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Asbestos was a popular material used for buildings and even home appliances until it was restricted heavily for causing life-threatening diseases. Since then, companies who used the material have dealt with court cases from employees, residents or customers exposed to asbestos. Although standard liability policies may exclude asbestos, you can find add-ons if your industry faces exposure.
Insurance for asbestos liability can cover a broad range of situations where a person may be involved with asbestos. Covered situations include both direct and indirect exposure, insured by:
Any business can assume they don’t have protection for asbestos exposure unless they buy specialized coverage. Although workers’ compensation may cover employee-related illnesses, workers may not report claims under this policy. Asbestos illnesses can take years to show symptoms, making workers’ compensation more difficult to claim.
If you purchase pollution liability coverage, you can get reimbursed for these costs:
Any business that expects to handle asbestos should consider adding this coverage, especially those working around construction or insulation. This may include workers involved in the following activities:
Because asbestos was widely used in the past, you, your employees or your customers might still encounter it on a regular basis. You face a high chance for asbestos lawsuits if you work in one of the industries above. Asbestos lawsuits go as far back as the 1960s and settlements have increased over the years for several reasons.
One reason stems from the myriad of businesses going bankrupt from asbestos-related lawsuits. This puts pressure on active businesses to shoulder extra liability previous businesses couldn’t pay. Overall, cases may run in favor of those suing you.
Asbestos liability could lead to further consequences if you’re not watching for important details:
The main risk with asbestos is that it leads to several serious health conditions like:
Asbestosis refers to the lungs’ scarring and stiffening from breathing in asbestos fibers. It’s an incurable, progressive disease where airways get so inflamed that oxygen can’t pass into the bloodstream. Difficulty breathing progresses to chest tightness, dry cough and changes to fingernails and skin tone.
However, people who worked around high amounts of asbestos suffer this disease most often, such as asbestos manufacturing or mining. The disease is rare under current regulations that limit workers’ contact.
People face a higher chance of developing lung cancer from breathing in dust particles from asbestos. The dust may irritate, scar or inflame the lungs and eventually lead to cancer over time. This risk increases even more for smokers.
Breathing in asbestos fibers can irritate and inflame the pleura, the membrane that lines multiple organs. This rare cancer typically grows and spreads before a patient presents with symptoms. Small levels of exposure can trigger cancer, and the risk perseveres throughout a person’s lifetime.
Asbestos particles can inflame the lining of the lung, causing it to thicken and fill with fluid. Some pleural diseases show few signs and symptoms, while others lead to shortness of breath and chest tightness.
If your company works around or handles asbestos regularly, you might be liable for harm or illnesses caused by asbestos fibers getting released into the air. Keep in mind that a standard business liability policy might not cover any of that responsibility. Consider adding pollution or environmental liability to your business insurance policy.
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