Saturday, September 12, 2015

Quincy Veterans Home Legionella Outbreak Kills Eight

Fifty two people have been sickened, and eight have died, in an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease at the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs 129 year old facility in the last 6 weeks. This news, coupled with recent outbreaks in California and New York, also likely connected to HVAC systems, has contractors in the business of installing ductwork or plumbing checking their insurance policies to see if they have coverage for losses of this nature.

According to brokers who sell pollution coverage for construction businesses, the product is “high severity, low frequency” coverage, reasonably priced for the risk involved. However, different insurers treat legionella differently. Some deem the bacteria included within the definition of “pollutant,” others require a special legionella endorsement to get coverage, and a few will not cover legionella under any circumstances.

The Center for Disease Control reports that there are between 8,000 and 18,000 cases of Legionnaire’s Disease annually in the U. S., with most originating from HVAC and non-potable water systems, but some also come from water faucets and showerheads. Average cost for a Legionnaire’s Disease endorsement runs between $1,250.00 and $1,500.00 for a million dollars of coverage.

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