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.

March 31, 2020

Wayne Marsh


Warren Santiago



Ask the Expert: Liability Insurance Recommendations for Coronavirus Cleaning

Dave Dybdahl of ARMR Network answers three questions related to liability coverage and cleaning during the coronavirus pandemic: 

  1. What is the #1 question you are getting from your restoration clients?
  2. What are some of the “must haves” for liability insurance if you’re doing coronavirus cleaning?
  3. What are some helpful documents out there for contractors right now? (This is obviously the place to mention the RIA/IICRC doc)

Diving deeper into the discussion, here are some risk management tips for restorers going out in the field to conduct virus decontamination work:

  1. Job #1: Protect the workers. If your employees have not been trained on personal protection equipment, if your firm does not have the equipment and experience working with bio-hazards, this is not place for on the job training.
  2. Follow the guidance and advice offered in the new RIA and IICRC Preliminary Report for Restoration Contractors Assisting Clients With COVID-19 Concerns. This document was produced s specifically to help contractors mitigate risk. DOWNLOAD HERE.
  3. Get your insurance coverage in order. At a minimum, contractors should review their general liability, contractor’s pollution liability, professional liability, and workers’ compensation policies with an insurance agent or broker with specialized knowledge or access to specialized knowledge in restoration contracting and bio hazards. There is no training available for insurance agents on the specialized needs of restoration contractors. Which explains why more than 90% of restores are inadequately insured today, not just on biohazard work. If you do not have a Contractors Environmental or Contractors Pollution Policy with its own insuring agreement section, stop all biohazard jobs. Job site coverage extensions on the General Liability policy do not fulfill this requirement.


Opening My Business Again after the COVID-19 Shutdown.
Do I Have Liability
Insurance Coverage if a Customer Gets This Virus?

Quick answer: Your Insurance Company’s likely response: No or Hell No.

Who We Are

For a deeper dive into this issue, let’s analyze how a Liability insurance policy may respond to a bodily
injury claim arising out of COVID-19. Many Liability insurance policies use Insurance Services Office (ISO)
policy forms to provide Liability insurance coverage. As such, this is a reasonable place to begin a
discussion of how Liability insurance policies respond to COVID-19 claims

Read the full article here

Randy C. DeLopst, CPCU

Taurus Insurance & Risk Management Consulting, LLC,
8519 Reid Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53717.
Phone: 608-282-5854

Edna Jennings


Trevor Ramsey



Confusing Insurance Terms

Seven words most don’t understand but are likely to encounter when dealing with insurance for their businesses. By Kari Dybdahl

Read The Full Article Here

Dedicated to Quality

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Find Out More

Insurance industry jargon can seem like a whole different language, but I’m here to help with an explanation of seven terms!

Have you ever been speaking with your insurance agent or insurance company and found yourself completely confused? Don’t worry; you are not alone. Insurance industry jargon can seem like a whole different language, but I’m here to help with an explanation of seven terms you’re likely to hear when planning and handling your company’s insurance policy needs.

For More articles by Kari Click HERE

By Kari Dybdahl in CleanFax


Creating Opportunities from the Toxic Misperceptions of Environmental Risk Management

What are the toxic misperceptions held by insurance producers and how can you use them to your competitive advantage?

Extraordinary new business production opportunities are created by common misperceptions about environmental risks and insurance. The biggest challenge for new business producers is how do you create a competitive advantage in a business where your competitors likely have forgotten more than you have had time to learn in the insurance business.  There are few lines of coverage where that deep experience of the incumbent agent works against them. Environmental insurance is one place where that holds true.

Read The Full Article in Insurance Nerds HERE

There is no such thing as “virus” insurance!

David Dybdahl, CPCU, CIC, MBA, ARM

With this much economic disruption on the horizon,
insurance buyers are asking their insurance advisors
this question; “Am I covered by insurance”?

As specialists in environmental risk management, we are getting
the same question on an hourly basis from the insurance agents
and brokers that we serve.
In this writing, I will detail how to go about insuring losses arising
from a virus.
As it turns out, there is potentially a lot of insurance coverage
already in place for losses incurred from the Coronavirus. The
closer an insurance placement is to the standard ISO property
and liability insurance policy, the better off the insurance buyer
is going to be. In my research on this topic, if an insurance
company has deviated from ISO on a policy form in reference to a
virus caused loss, it has only been to eliminate coverage.


Similar to spinning the coverage wheel of fortune with the
totally unreliable coverage givebacks in common pollution
exclusions, trying to figure out a covered cause of loss arising
from a virus will lead to a lot of gray coverage areas. Avoiding gray
coverage areas is a very good idea because of insurance coverage
litigation on contamination caused losses can take a decade or
more to resolve in court, assuming the insurance buyer has the
funds and will to pursue the legal case for that long.
Having an affirmative coverage grant for virus as a cause of loss
would be much more reliable for everyone involved in a loss.
Those policies exist, but are they not common in the world of environmental insurance. Environmental insurance coverage is
not a panacea.
Today, less than 5% of commercial properties are properly
insured for indoor air loss exposures. For the very few properties
that have EIL coverage on them today if a virus is a covered
“pollutant” that could emit or discharge, thereby triggering
the policy coverage, there is a 90% chance that the policy has a
communicable disease exclusion, thereby rendering it useless for a
loss caused by the Coronavirus.

Download the Full Guide HERE

1. Do not ignore the effects of Pollution/Fungus/Mold/Bacteria/Virus exclusions and sublimits in property and
liability insurance policies.
2. Explain the environmental loss exposure, the effects of exclusions, and sublimits in the current insurance
program to the customer.
3. Always recommend the purchase of environmental insurance. Doing otherwise takes on undue errors and
omission risks.
4. Offer to procure environmental insurance, to fill the identified coverage gaps, in the current insurance
program for an agreed upon target premium.
5. Only go to market to obtain a quote for insurance after steps 2,3 and 4 above have been completed.
6. Find qualified help in getting you through this process.


READ HERE: What we have done at ARMR to make the coverage interface between the traditional P&C insurance program and the gap-filling environmental coverage easier for our retail producers:


Engaging customer experience so that as an end result, we be CMSable. Leverage below the fold and finally gain traction. Generating bleeding edge and creating actionable insights.

Birdie Kelley

Brand Expert | Mantell Design

Generating best in class in order to improve overall outcomes. Inform outside the box thinking and finally target the low hanging fruit. Repurose big data and possibly gain traction.

Hattie Munoz

Support Staff | Gerwyn Financial

The fortunes of every restoration firm are inextricably linked to the fortunes of insurance companies.

Restorers are affected by insurance companies in both how they are paid for the work they do and how much the restorer pays for business liability insurance.

For 2020 expect:

  • Enhanced insurance requirements designed to prevent restoration firms from being uninsured for their indemnity obligations.
  • There will be much more specific requirements for Additional Insured coverage coming from the direct repair networks.
  • A crack down from the direct repair networks on compliance with their insurance specifications.
  • More red-light situations with direct repair networks will develop as the compliance crack downs reveal coverage flaws in the insurance policies historically sold to restorers.
  • Significant rate increases on business automobile policies.
  • Significant rate increases on roofing and build back revenues.
  • Nonrenewal of existing General Liability policies as the incumbent insurance companies realizes that it must be the insurance company for another insurance company under the indemnity obligations of master services agreement in direct repair networks.
  • Insurance companies abandoning the restoration contracting class of business in the face of rapidly deteriorating loss results.


Pollution After A Hurricane

Examining increased environmental exposures due to weather events.
By: Kari Dybdahl 

We know that General Liability and Property policies sold to commercial property owners have various pollution exclusions. What happens when mold starts to grow on the walls or the bacteria needs to be remediated?

We’ve all seen the news or have spoken to others about the current weather events. For some of us, we dodged the bullet. But millions of people and businesses were and are right in harm’s way.

Hurricanes cause an extensive amount of damage to economies, cultures and infrastructures. They pose an enormous amount of environmental loss exposures to both homes and commercial properties. Distribution warehouses, for example, that hold various chemicals that were in a safe place prior to the weather events, may have now been compromised, with chemicals released into flood waters or burned by the wild fires. Depending on the reaction a certain chemical has with water or fire, it could be immediately harmful to the nearby natural resources and people.

Hurricanes pose even more of an environmental loss exposure with the sheer amount of water intruding into commercial properties and homes. Mold can colonize rapidly within 72 hours of water damage, if the conditions are perfect. Since mold is naturally occurring, it needs a food source, water and heat to colonize and grow. Drywall is a great food source for mold as it is easy for the spores to digest. With the right amount of food, water and heat a commercial property can become a petri dish very fast if relative humidity is not under 40%. Bacteria is even more of a threat to humans and reproduces faster than mold. Bacteria colonies can grow 100% every 20 minutes with the right conditions. It is said that there are over one million different species of bacteria, and legionella is just one of those. Hurricanes and rain storms are the ideal situation for mold and bacteria growth, resulting in almost every fungi and bacteria sublimit and exclusion to trigger GL and property policies for commercial properties.

We know that General Liability and Property policies sold to commercial property owners have various pollution exclusions. What happens when mold starts to grow on the walls or the bacteria needs to be remediated? A fire and water restoration contractor must step in to help. I recently spotted a photo online of a whole neighborhood in Houston that appeared to be a ghost town. Not a restoration contractor in sight. I started to wonder how that could be, when many restoration contractors had been in Houston helping rebuild. I learned that restoration contractors generally will not work on a property (home or commercial space) if that property is not insured for fungi or bacteria, due to fact that the chance they will end up being paid for their work is slim to none.

In 2017 reported that 80% of homeowners in Houston that were underwater due to hurricane Harvey did not have flood insurance even though coverage was readily available. The National Flood Insurance Program is currently $20 billion in debt. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas and others stated that the national flood program in its current form is not sustainable. Even if commercial properties could buy flood insurance that would include the effects from fungi, mold and bacteria, they are still taking a massive risk on environmental loss exposures in the program.

What about the commercial properties that didn’t purchase flood insurance from the national program? The majority of property policies sold to commercial property owners and managers have $15,000 sub limits, according to a recent webinar cohosted by Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. ISO forms have a have this $15,000 sublimit to highlight that mold, bacteria and fungi is not something they want to cover on ISO forms. The issue here is the average mold job on a commercial property is $250,000.

Commercial properties are going to feel the effects for many years to come. The more the flood waters linger, the more mold and bacteria growth in those commercial properties trigger the pollution, fungi and bacteria exclusions on GL and property policies.

As we see a shift in weather patterns, I anticipate more flooding in cities that do not have a storm water system infrastructure to support the amount of rain fall, resulting in more mass flooding and more environmental loss exposures for commercial properties.

Find Out More About ARMR HPR Here

What’s an Agency to Do? Document…Document…Document
Protect yourself and make the offer and, of course, document it! Just like you would with someone in a special hazard flood zone that didn’t purchase coverage or someone that turns down uninsured motorist. Make the offer to investigate. Ask them if they have risk management processes for environmental loss exposures for liability and property. Offer the ARMR HPR program. If they say “yes,” Big “I” Markets makes it easy. If they say “no thanks,” document with DocuSign. (Pro tip: Big “I” members new to DocuSign receive 20% off of their Standard or Business Pro plans. Find out more at

Over the past three years we have been creating a risk management and insurance program for commercial properties that incorporates a proactive environmental loss exposure management plan prior to a loss as well as the procurement of a specially designed environmental site pollution liability policy if a loss were to occur. This program is exclusive through ARMR.Network. For more information along with agency specific sell sheets for you to pass along to your commercial property owner and manager prospects and clients, please reach out to us on Big “I” Markets under Pollution Contractors-FarmUSTs-Other.

To provide you with an indication we just need to see the statement of values for the property portfolio. The information you send your property underwriter will work great. It will take us about 24 hours to turn around an indication for site pollution liability, including mold, fungus, bacteria as well as incorporating the proactive emergency response plan at no cost to your client. If the client or prospect is interested, you will gather the additional underwriting information needed and we will release a formal option to bind. It is that simple!

With the increase in weather events, commercial property owners and managers must be looking into how to better manage their environmental loss exposures. What is stopping barrels of alcohol being blown into a river and killing the natural resources for miles when a storm hits? Nothing.

To close the gap in coverage for environmental loss exposures caused by GL and property policies, every commercial property owner and manager should consider the ARMR commercial property program or else they will be unknowingly underinsured for those exposures. Your commercial property owners and manager clients and prospects are relying on you as the insurance professional to inform them they have a problem. I do not want to see you caught up in a potential E&O situation because the solution of covering environmental loss exposures was not offered to them.

ARMR.Network is your environmental insurance resource. You can find us on Big “I” Markets or just reach out to me with any questions you may have at We look forward to hearing from you!  

With the increase in weather events, commercial property owners and managers must be looking into how to better manage their environmental loss exposures. What is stopping barrels of alcohol being blown into a river and killing the natural resources for miles when a storm hits? Nothing.



Major issues to watch out for:

  • Restrictions or limitation on storage and/or duration of storage for personal property of others
  • No coverage for property in transit
  • Exclusion for property for which you issue a receipt or record of storage
  • Coverage is not provided on a direct physical loss basis
  • Low/inadequate limits of insurance

Read More Here

Coverage for Contents Cleaning

by: David Dybdahl and Aaron Millonzi

Over the last few years, contents cleaning and restoration has become an important service for restoration and remediation contractors to provide. Not only can it be profitable, it also offers contractors the opportunity to set themselves apart from their competitors. Innovations in methods and new technology have made it not only easier, but also less expensive and safer to perform these services. As you consider adding this as something your firm offers, I strongly encourage you to consider how this will affect your insurance situation. More specifically, it’s important that you confirm your business is adequately covered should you add this service, because many restoration and remediation firms are not!

The exclusion states there is no coverage for property in the care, custody or control (CCC) of the insured, but what exactly does that mean? The general consensus is this:

  • “Care” refers to temporary charge of personal property (i.e. you’re in charge of the stuff),
  • “Custody” implies a keeping or guarding of that property (i.e. you’re keeping it safe), and
  • “Control” refers to power or authority to manage, superintend, direct or oversee (i.e. you can do what you want with it).