10 Things You Need to Know About Historical Insurance

Interested in why historical insurance matters and what it can do for you? We’ve lined up ten things you should know about historical insurance policies, from why they’re still valuable to what types of policies to look for, and more.

  1. Historical insurance policies may be old, but they can still provide coverage today. Policies over one hundred years old can still be viable for providing coverage for present day liabilities. How can this be? If the actual damage for a claim occurred during the old policy’s term, then it’s possible for the current-day claim to be covered by the old policy because there is no statute of limitation on liability. Even for claims discovered years or decades later, the insurance provider may be responsible for the damage that took place during those coverage periods.
  2. Historical insurance can yield millions in coverage. Site cleanup, compliance obligations, and third party legal actions can hold those liable for millions in remediation costs. Luckily, if the liable party can prove that they have coverage by locating valuable old policies that may still be in effect. Finding historical policies that cover expensive remediation costs is like striking gold.
  3. It’s common for historical insurance to be lost or destroyed. This happens for many reasons, including changes in the insurance industry, policy changes, business relocations, mergers and acquisitions, and personnel changes. Old documents that employees believe are no longer valuable can be tossed out accidentally, or a company might not even realize they have insurance because it was purchased as part of a package. For one of our clients, they lost all their files in a major flood, including insurance documents.
  4. Insurance archaeology seeks to locate or reconstruct missing or destroyed historical insurance. Our insurance archaeologists at Restorical are experts at finding financial justice for businesses who have misplaced or destroyed old policies that are still in force. We have an excellent performance record locating policies or finding evidence of them to help offset remediation costs for our clients.
  5.  Many types of clients benefit from locating historical insurance. This includes businesses, environmental consultants, municipalities, state agencies, developers, operators, law firms, and property owners. Some of Restorical’s clients include a family that owned an estate, a die casting company, and a west coast school district.
  6. The older an insurance policy is, the less restrictive and more valuable it is likely to be. Before the 1970s, it was unlikely that policies contained pollution exclusions, making the insurance provider liable for pollution damage rather than the policy holder. By 1985, the absolute pollution exclusion was more frequently enforced. This makes older insurance policies generally more valuable than newer, more restrictive ones.
  7. The main form of historical insurance to look for are CGL policies. Comprehensive general liability insurance (CGL) policies can cover both remediation and litigation costs. Other types of policies include umbrella liability policies and excess coverage policies, among more specialized kinds.
  8. Soil and groundwater contamination aren’t the only claims that historical insurance can cover. Asbestos, chromated copper arsenate (CCA), and construction defect liabilities are all potential threats to property owners. Luckily, historical policies can be used to cover these as well as other types of claims.
  9. Even if original policies cannot be located, secondary policy evidence  can still be used to reconstruct them. Hope is not lost if there original policy has been destroyed or lost. Restorical is an industry leader in identifying secondary evidence that can be used to prove the existence and terms of old policies. Different jurisdictions have different restrictions for what counts as secondary evidence, but Restorical has the experience and successful track record to assist in these specialized cases.
  10. If damage occurred over a long period of time, there may be multiple historical policies that can be used for coverage. Every state’s insurance coverage laws are different, but some of these states have ruled that policy holders, in addition to being covered by the policy in effect at the time the damage was first discovered, can also receive coverage from policies in effect during the time damage was occurring. This leads to multiple policies providing coverage for the same long-term damage and all prior policies issued back to when coverage first began.

Keep Your Historical Insurance Policies Safe and Accounted For
Historical insurance policies are lifelines when it comes to managing risks against costly environmental liabilities. Be sure to treat your old (and new) policies like gold, keeping them safe and accounted for. If you do need to locate lost or destroyed historical insurance, Restorical can help. Our team of expert insurance archaeologists have a proven track record of success and are ready to start the search to find your historical insurance.

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