Expert Commentary



CGL Pollution Exclusion Bars Coverage for Insulation Injuries

A total pollution exclusion endorsement on a surplus lines commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy was enforced in Vermont to bar coverage for injuries claimed to arise out of insulation installed in a building. The Vermont Supreme Court held that bodily injury from claims arising out of toxic chemicals that allegedly became airborne as a result of the application of spray-foam insulation in a school building were excluded from coverage under the installer’s CGL policy.  

Valuation of Life Insurers: 2015

The purpose of this article is to provide an update regarding the valuation of companies operating in the life insurance industry and how interest rates impact the market. In response to continued global economic challenges, interest rates remain at historically low levels. The low interest rate environment has impacted most segments of the economy, including the life insurance industry.

Highly Recommended Summer Reading

In 1985, Michael Kinsley of The New Republic conducted an experiment. Notes were inserted in the pages of 70 copies of the hottest nonfiction books in several bookstores throughout Washington, DC, offering a small financial reward to anyone who saw them and called the magazine. These were the most popular books that most in Washington were talking about. Mr. Kinsley's suspicions were confirmed: not one person responded to redeem the notes left undiscovered in the books that had been purchased, suggesting those discussing the book were most likely basing their comments on the reviews being written. Begging this question, just as relevant today: if we are not reading the important ideas of others, how are we to learn?

Stop Work Authority and the Bystander Effect

Stop work authority (SWA) in safety programs is intended to empower employees to intervene if and when they see situations that are unsafe or they see others engaged in unsafe behaviors. This is sometimes touted as a very progressive position taken by the organization to ensure the health and safety of their employees as well as the protection of the environment. This in theory is laudable but in practice may not be as effective as it is intended to be when implemented at construction companies.

Disability Benefits Compliance Primer: ADA

The body of law affecting disability, absence, and return-to-work (RTW) programs has grown tremendously in the last 40 years. The Rehabilitation Act (1973) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (1990) were the dominant forces in the early years of disability management. Fast-forward to 2015, and there are now hundreds of disability benefit programs on the federal, state, local, and company levels.


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