IIAA Addresses Biochemical, Nuclear Attack Implications on Insurance Coverages

October 17, 2001

The Independent Insurance Agents of America’s (IIAA) Virtual University is offering insight on the insurance ramifications of possible biological and nuclear attacks by terrorists in a special article published on the Big “I” website.

The article, titled “The Insurance Coverage Implications of Biochemical and Nuclear Terrorist Attacks,” takes an in-depth look at the role insurance will play in a recovery effort following such biochemical attacks by terrorists and answers the question about whether coverage will extend to these occurrences.

“As the specter of new types of terrorist attacks arise we are taking a look at each possible scenario to gain an understanding of the implications on insurance coverages,” says William C. Wilson Jr., director of IIAA’s Virtual University. “Following the Sept. 11 attacks, the possibility of biochemical or nuclear attacks has been raised by government leaders. This article is a comprehensive examination of the insurance questions raised by a biological or nuclear attack. It seeks to answer consumer and agent queries about whether property and casualty policies will cover losses.”

Immediately after the terrorist attacks, the Virtual University took on the role of an insurance industry resource page to explain the insurance implications of the tragedies in New York and Washington, D.C.

The most recent terrorism-related article added to the Virtual University analyzes property/casualty insurance issues relative to biological and nuclear attacks and probes whether claims involving biological, chemical or nuclear materials are covered. Investigations include a look into personal auto, homeowners, commercial property, business income, commercial auto, commercial general liability and workers’ compensation policies.

The article further details that coverage for “biochemical agents is based on the premise that these substances would fit the typical definition of a ‘pollutant’: Any solid, liquid, gaseous or thermal irritant or contaminant, including smoke, vapor, soot, fumes, acids, alkalis, chemicals and waste.”

Ultimately, the article makes a case for there being substantial coverage for biochemical attacks under most policies, but little coverage for nuclear radiation or contamination claims. “Needless to say, it would be necessary to evaluate each individual circumstance to determine the applicability of the policy exclusions,” the article explains.

To access the Virtual University resource page, go to www.independentagent.com and click on the Education button. Upon entering the Virtual University, click on the “United We Stand” icon to access the disaster resource page.

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