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Environmental Contractor Insurance (ECI)  

REMEDIATION of contaminated soil and groundwater is expanding under federal, state, local, and voluntary cleanup programs. The ECI program protects REMEDIATION contractors, lenders and owners of contaminated property against the possibility to cleanup costs vastly exceeding cleanup cost estimates. A unique feature of ECI is the use of a pre-approved reimbursement schedule once coverage is triggered. The reimbursement schedule functions as a built-in SIR (Self-Insured Retention) thus ensuring that neither the site owner nor REMEDIATION contractor has to fully fund a cleanup cost overrun. Other REMEDIATION insurance products contain a traditional SIR stop-loss attachment point exceeding a percentage of the cleanup cost estimate that the owner must fully fund (a substantial amount for a large cleanup).

For property transactions, ECI and SLEEP offer major advantages over traditional escrow funding for REMEDIATION or uncertain environmental liabilities. Instead of fully funding a cleanup under an escrow account, ECI coverage may be purchased at a fraction of the cleanup cost, thus freeing capital for more productive uses. A major advantage to using SLEEP coverage with guaranteed cleanup cost protection is to protect against reopener for known pollution conditions and against cleanup or liability for new pollution conditions.

"Brownfield’s" and other contaminated properties represent a seriously underutilized resource. Environmental liability is the one impediment to the reuse of these properties. Property owners, investors, prospective purchasers, regional and private developers, and secured creditors are concerned with liability associated with REMEDIATION of contaminated property and the long-term liability for pollutants remaining on the property once the cleanup is completed.

Governments are realizing that cleaning up every contaminated property in the U.S. to pristine conditions is not necessary to protect human health and the environment, and it is not economically viable. State regulatory changes include risk-based corrective action, voluntary cleanups (including "Brownfield’s" properties) with a change in the government's role, and privatization of cleanup programs. These efforts are beginning to impact site cleanups and may reduce the number of sites requiring total cleanup and flatten or reduce REMEDIATION costs. Risk-based approaches are also being considered for RCRA Corrective Action projects and some CERCLA-related actions.

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