W H Y  D O  C A R R I E R S  R O U T I N E L Y  A B A N D O N  T H E 

R E  S T O R A T I O N  C L A S S O F  B U S I N E S S ?

By: David Dybdahl October 2022

Every other market that went after restoration as a target class in the
past 10 years has abandoned the market. Forcing through nonrenewals
unavoidably creates potential coverage gaps on environmental losses establishing the exact date of a covered loss. and therefore which
policy should cover it, is impossible to do.





David J. Dybdahl, CPCU, ARM, MBA, is the president of ARMR. Network, LLC is a specialty insurance brokerage firm that works through independent insurance agents to provide business insurance packages to cleaning and restoration contractors coast to coast. He is a frequent contributor to R&R. He can be reached at 877 735 0800 or visit their website at






Users Guide To Farm Environmental Loss Exposures &
Pollution Insurance

Environmental impairment loss exposures are inherent in the operation of a farm; these loss exposures cannot be avoided in the business of farming. The Farm package insurance programs commonly sold to farmers do NOT provide any effective coverage for claims arising from gradual contamination of soil and water or from odors.
Recent court rulings have shown that farmers face pollution-related loss exposures – most notably from drinking water supply contamination and odors. Across the country, lawsuits are increasing along with the increasing size of farming operations. The alleged damages being sought by the plaintiffs in some of these lawsuits are in amounts never seen in the agricultural economy.
The vast majority of farms have no insurance at all for the environmental damage claims that may be made against them. Specialized environmental impairment insurance for farms is available through thousands of insurance agents and brokers across the United States.

Download the Full Guide Here


“Environmental Insurance Policies Are Not All Created Equal.”



Every commercial insurance agency has an untapped organic growth opportunity with its current customers in a line of insurance where 95% of the accounts that need the coverage are needlessly uninsured today. Half of the placements have material coverage flaws in the policies being sold to them within the 5% of commercial insurance clients that have the needed coverage in place. Engaging in a proven sales strategy on prospects in this line of business can be expected to generate an 80% closing rate on first-time buyers of the coverage and 90% retention rates on renewals. Every agency has many potential buyers in-house and hundreds of prospects in their current marketing range. Sound good? It should be because numbers like that are only achieved in rare circumstances.

Just what is the mystery line of insurance that is capable of producing numbers like that? It is environmental insurance on selected classes of business.

And who is hitting closing ratios of 80% on new business first-time buyers?  ARMR Network, LLC does when our retail insurance agents utilize our time-proven inverted new business sales strategy and the purpose-built best in class environmental insurance products available through Big “I” Markets.

As a benchmark, the environmental insurance potential in the current account base of an agency is 10% of the General Liability insurance book.

Read the Full Article in the BIG-I



“Every commercial insurance agency has an untapped organic growth opportunity with its current customers in a line of insurance where 95% of the accounts that need the coverage are needlessly uninsured today.”

By David Dybdahl

Getting Free Insurance: A Play Out of Insurance Company Playbooks

Restorers can learn a lot from the insurance company playbook on how to manage restoration risks.

Read the Article HERE

The best way to pay for a lawsuit is to get somebody else to pay for it. That is how most insurance companies have things set up when you do work under a master restoration services agreement.

Say you mess up on a job so badly that not only you get sued for the recovery of the property owner’s damages, but the insurance company paying for your work, or the direct-repair network or franchisor that sent you to the job, gets sued as well. In that situation, your liability insurance is expected to pay to defend these other parties as well. In other words, the codefendants with you in the lawsuit do not pay; you do, or hopefully, if your insurance is designed properly to address this situation, your insurance company pays on your behalf. In risk management speak, the risk was transferred in a services procurement contract from the codefendant’s onto you and hopefully onto your liability insurance.

You can use that same risk transfer play with the subcontractors you hire. Subcontractors are the number-one source of liability claims in the fire and water restoration business. They are also the source of the very largest claims measured, in the millions of dollars. Basically, the source of these claims is the subcontractor messing up sufficiently bad on a job to trigger a lawsuit against the fire and water restoration firm that hired them, and sometimes the parties that sent the restorer to the job. Most lawsuits that involve the work of a subcontractor end up with the general contractor first. Below I will detail how to manage the subcontractor risk by stealing a play straight from the insurance company risk management playbook.  

Read the Article HERE


David J. Dybdahl,

David J. Dybdahl, CPCU,ARM, MBA is the CEO of ARMR.Network, LLC a specialty insurance brokerage firm that works through independent insurance agents to provide business insurance packages to cleaning and restoration contractors coast to coast. He is a frequent contributor to R&R. He can be reached 877 735 0800 or visit their website restorationinsurance.com




Your Risks and Insurance:
A Year in Review

By David Dybdahl August 2021

The Actual Versus Perceived Risks of COVID-19

COVID-19, of course, was the big risk and insurance story of the last 15 months. Restorers had opportunities to perform cleaning and disinfecting services as soon as they became essential workers, which happened quickly in March of 2020. The firms that embraced that new market early and were incumbents on building cleaning services contracts did well through the pandemic. Other firms suffered steep declines in revenue as a result of the pandemic. 

Due to COVID-19, I ended up working harder than I have for many years to develop risk management solutions for the new cause of loss in our customer base of restoration firms. New risk management tools had to be created to facilitate the cleaning and disinfecting work performed by our clients. On March 10, 2020, there was no easily understood, legally defensible, cleaning and disinfecting protocol for any virus, let alone a new virus that was causing thousands of deaths and the travel ban. There was also no purpose-designed liability insurance available for the firms performing virus disinfecting work. For over 100 years there had been no need for such an insurance product. 






David J. Dybdahl, CPCU,ARM, MBA is the president of ARMR.Network, LLC a specialty insurance brokerage firm that works through independent insurance agents to provide business insurance packages to cleaning and restoration contractors coast to coast. He is a frequent contributor to R&R. He can be reached 877 735 0800 or visit their website at







Top Liability Money Traps to Avoid In 2021

What is a liability money trap? For what I am addressing here, it is a set of facts and circumstances that can lead to potential liability issues for restoration firms. Facts and circumstances have already set the trap for the unaware; below is some advice on how to not into the traps.

Insurance brokers who specialize in insuring restoration firms are in a unique position to identify future industry trends. In the insurance application process, we get to see the business forecasts for the upcoming year for firms in the restoration business from across the country. We also see the insurance claims themselves, which allows us to see trends in liability arising from the work performed by restorers. Often, the work leading to the claims was completed many years prior. 


Read the full article


David Dybdahl

April 29th, 2021


There are other money traps for restorers to step into, but they are not as widespread as these four. The money traps are easy to see and avoid if you are looking for them. The bogus insurance certificates and no liability insurance at job sites involving cleaning up a speck of mold or bacteria (including category 3 water) are traps your insurance agent will need to fix for you. The other two, not being licensed as a pesticide applicator where a license is needed and the application of antimicrobials that is “a violation of federal law” are directly within your control. 


IRMI Article

By David Dybdahl

March 2021

Managing the Risks of Resiliency-Related Services

Read the Full Article

This is an article for the contractors working to repair the effects of the 2021 winter storms. It contains useful information for the property owners as well.

Risk Management Considerations

Make sure that your insurance is fit for the purpose for which it is intended, many of the liability insurance policies sold to restoration contractors are not adequate to address the loss exposures commonly associated with restoration contracting.

Inform your insurance providers that you are performing CAT response work, especially if that work is outside of your normal operating territory. Adjustments to your insurance coverage are likely necessary.



Professional Liability Insurance

General Liability and Contractors’ Pollution Liability insurance policies routinely exclude losses from “Professional Services”. The IICRC Standards are “Professional” standards. Professional Liability insurance is available for no additional premium on the higher quality CPL+Professional liability and combined GL+CPL+Professional Liability policies designed specifically for restorers.

High-quality insurance with specialized coverage for biohazards is needed and readily available for firms working to restore properties from the damages caused by the 2021 winter storms. It is especially important to address the biohazards on all losses involving water intrusion in the built environment.


Proactively Manage COVID-19 Risks in the Built Environment

By: David Dybdahl

Naive efforts to control the risks associated with a biohazard contamination in buildings can actually increase the risk of loss to the stakeholders in that building. A simple process of (1) do no harm, (2) utilize building cleaning and disinfecting sanitation procedures that are legally defensible in court, and (3) make sure the stakeholders are insurable and insured is an effective way to manage the coronavirus and other biohazards in buildings.

Through marketing hype and hoopla promoting a virus-free building, well-intentioned biohazard decontamination services providers can actually increase the hazards of virus contamination and, in doing so, significantly increase the risk of building owners and property managers. At a time when the owners and managers of buildings are uninsured for virus and other biohazard-related claims, finding cleaning and disinfecting services providers that are insured under specially modified CPL insurance is an essential and easy to implement risk management play. Hiring uninsurable contractors for biohazard decontamination work is a good way to make individual buildings and the services provided by property management companies uninsurable for biohazard risks as well.

Answer Key




Did you Like this ARTICLE?

“Dive into thought-provoking industry commentary every other week, including links to free articles from industry experts. Discover practical risk management tips, insight on important case law, and be the first to receive important news regarding IRMI products and events.”

Learn more



Production Opportunities in a slow market

 by: Dustin Helmenstine CIC,AINS

In this time of uncertainty, it is common for me to hear that new business pipelines are drying up. This makes sense because for as long as the insurance industry has been around, the main way to generate growth was through in-person networking. Just because that has been the model does not mean you cannot find new ways to generate growth.
As a millennial I find myself missing the traditional way of networking, who doesn’t love a happy hour, but it is important to realize just because the traditional way of generating growth has changed, doesn’t mean you cannot adjust and develop how you generate growth.
At the company I work for, American Risk Management Resources, we specialize in engineered environmental insurance placements that we sell on a wholesale basis. Through this pandemic we have been busier than ever because the retail producers we work with have done two things:

  • Used this time as an opportunity to review a client’s existing insurance program, and
  • Used this time to reach out to old connections to review their current insurance program to discover gaps in coverage created by exclusions for various contaminants that are universal in property and liability insurance policies.

Read the full Article

Dustin Helmenstine joined American Risk Management Resources Network, LLC in 2015. He works as an insurance broker specializing in environmental risk management and insurance. He works on insurance placements ranging from contractor’s pollution liability contractual requirements to the transfer of contaminated properties and the cleanup of superfund sites. He has provided support in the design of multiple insurance programs. Dustin is the lead researcher in support of expert witness engagements and risk management consulting projects with project values exceeding $10,000,0000. He has analyzed insurance coverage on over a thousand insurance policies and the financial stability of large, Fortune 500 companies as it pertains to their environmental risk exposures. Past clients include Minnesota’s Department of Commerce, the Michigan Department of Attorney General and Contractor Connections, the largest contractor insurance referral network. Dustin graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in personal finance. He has completed his Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation, Associates in General Insurance (AINS) designation and is working towards his Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation. He is currently a committee member of the IIAW Emerging Leaders and volunteers his time to the Sons of the American Legion and coaching youth basketball.


Property Insurance Coverage for COVID-19 aka Coronavirus

(Where the Hell is My Business Interruption Coverage?)

Author: Randy C. DeLopst, CPCU

Taurus Insurance & Risk Management Consulting, LLC

608-203-6357  Office

608-282-5854  Mobile


The Short Version of this Article
For a property insurance policy to provide coverage for claims arising out of a virus like COVID19, the following conditions must exist:
1. The state where the claim occurs must be one where courts would hold that the presence of a virus on insured property is “direct physical loss or damage”. Some states do and some states don’t. If the actual presence of the virus on the property is not verified, it will be very difficult to show there was a
“direct physical loss”.

2. The virus must be physically present on the Covered Property for loss of Business Income & Extra
Expense and Dependent Properties coverages to be triggered. It is very difficult to confirm the actual presence of a virus on a property. There are no simple tests. For Civil Authority coverage, the virus must be on property other than the properties at the described insured premises.

3. The state where the claim occurs must be one where courts would hold that a virus was not a “pollutant” under the policy’s pollution exclusion. Some states probably would and some probably wouldn’t. Is there is any case law on whether or not a virus is a “Pollutant” in property insurance policies? I could not find any such cases. 

4. The policy does not have any separate exclusions for viruses, microbes, microorganisms, microbial matter, microscopic organisms, biological agents, contamination or similar terms. Such policy exclusions would probably exclude coverage for virus claims. You will most likely need to look to the Environmental Impairment/Pollution (EIL) insurance market for reliable property coverage for virus claims. This EIL policy will need to clearly state that coverage is
provided for virus claims and be adapted for indoor use.


or those who want to dig a little deeper into the reasons for why a property policy is not reliable for a contamination- driven cause of loss like a virus, hang on to you hats, ingest lots of caffeine and read on.