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One Day and BP Clean-Up Contractor has Coverage

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Quick turn-around may be a watchword of some brokers, but doing the impossible and doing it in record time is quite another thing.

In this case, Senior Underwriter Ivy Riggs, in the Environmental Center of Excellence at Burns & Wilcox, opened her email at 9:58 a.m. on a June morning to find an urgent request to find contractors pollution liability coverage for a skimming contractor doing work in the Gulf for BP whose leaking oil well had already become a matter of notoriety. The agent had written that “Speed is more important than anything right now,” and she got right to work.

The client operated a skimmer barge, which goes out on the water to separate and remove oil from the top before it dissipates and is more difficult to remove. Successful completion of his contract required fast action, as he could not begin work until he had the proper insurance coverage in place.

As Riggs started to call underwriters to get a feel for their interest, her first call brought laughter. She garnered similar responses from several others, especially when she told them the policy had to include BP as a primary non-contributory additional insured with waiver of subrogation. Including an oil company as an additional insured this way is a fairly standard requirement, but given the circumstances, it did raise some eyebrows. At the time BP was making daily headlines for polluting a large stretch of coastline with no end in sight.

“Being told that I’d never place the business was all I needed to hear,” Riggs said. “ I had a job to do and when the gauntlet was thrown, I knocked myself out trying.”

As it turned out, a number of carriers were interested.

The first quote arrived at 11:30 a.m., the second at 2:19 p.m. and by 2:54 she had a third quote, all oneyear, renewable policies from good companies. The agent bound the first quote.

When the insurance was in place the producer wrote Riggs: “Thanks for the quick reply. You did an excellent job.”

That is always nice to hear, but nowhere near as satisfying as doing the allegedly impossible.

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