Coverage For Voluntary Cleanups: Washington Supreme Court: No Claim Nor Threat For Coverage

Policyholder Advisor & Alert

PUBLISHED ON: July 1, 1994

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Policyholders who initiate environmental cleanups rather than wait forformal governmental action against them do not forfeit coverage under standard form comprehensive general liability (CGL) insurance policies. On May 19, 1994, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington in Weyerhaeuser Company v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. unanimously held that no overt legal threat against apolicyholder is required to trigger coverage underthese policies. No “PRP” letter or lawsuit isrequired. Environmental statutes imposing liability for environmental property damage can themselves activate insurance coverage.