Managing the Environmental Risks in Healthcare Facilities

By David Dybdahl

Mention environmental risks in healthcare, and just about everybody thinks of medical waste.

Medical waste is one of the environmental hazards in healthcare facilities.

The new HETI newsletter has some great advice on medical waste disposal choices. 


Newsletter #1 HERE by HETI Medical Waste Treatment Technologies currently available technologies


Newsletter #2 HERE by HETI Evaluating & selecting Treatment Technologies


But medical waste disposal is not the only environmental hazard in healthcare facilities. It is not even the most important risk to manage proactively.

By far, the most significant risks in health care and virtually all commercial buildings are;

  1. Water intrusion events from inside the building,
  2. The effects of Fungi and Bacteria exclusions in property and liability insurance policies.

Losses from waste management practices come in as a distant 3rd for frequency and severity.

All Commercial buildings should have pre-placed emergency response plans with a qualified fire and water damage restoration contractor. A broken sewer pipe on a Sunday night is no time to figure out who to call to prevent further damage and remove the bio-hazards.

Some environmental risks can be financed essentially cost-free with a good set of insurance requirements for the vendors that provide services within the building. A functional set of insurance requirements for the vendors servicing the building should not ignore the existence of universal exclusions for pollution/fungus /mold/bacteria exclusions in both liability and property insurance policies. Most of the insurance requirements in contracts do.  This IRMI article is a perfect example of what happens when the longest exclusions in General Liability insurance policies are ignored in the insurance specifications in contracts.


Indoor risks in commercial properties


Rational CPL Insurance Specifications


The illustrated claim in the article is for causing the death of invitees arising from bacteria in a hospital reception room. The cause of death was not medical malpractice. It was caused by poor facility housekeeping in a common area.   

With a qualified preplaced emergency response plan, a facility can qualify for affordable environmental insurance designed for indoor environmental hazards. The ARMR HPR Environmental Insurance product has been specifically designed to integrate water intrusion Emergency Response Plans and customized environmental insurance coverage for commercial buildings. 


ARMR HPR 3.0 The ONLY insurance solution for medical waste and facilities

Biggest Risks in Health Care and virtually ALL Commercial Buildings

  1. Water intrusion events from inside the building,
  2. The effects of Fungi and Bacteria exclusions in property and liability insurance policies.

Losses from waste management practices come in as a distant 3rd for frequency and severity!

Environmental Risks in Health Care Facilities can be Financed!

ARMR HPR 3.0tm!

Call 877-735-0800


Environmental Insurance Library. Over 30 years of articles on environmental insurance written by the industry’s leaders. From content focused on Fire and Water Restoration Contractors, Mergers and Acquisitions, Farms, Commerical Properties, Developers, Underground and Above ground Storage tanks, and Municipalities to Superfund sites, this is the industry’s most accredited library.



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





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




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.

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Offering COVID-19 services is taking on additional risk in your business. Here’s what you should know about insuring your company against those risks.

The word “risk” is a very broad term. To be in business, risk is always present. Business owners choose what risk they want to take on, avoid, or transfer. Offering a new service or taking on a new job is what us insurance nerds call taking on risk. Simply put, to avoid risk is to not take on the new service or job. To transfer risk is to purchase an insurance policy where you pay a small percentage of premium for the coverage amount purchased.

On a macro scale, offering COVID-19 services is taking on additional risk in your business. What increases the risk is that there is not enough data to predict how detrimental taking on these new operations could be.  What we do know is it is not economical to determine if a virus is present or not. It is expensive and very small to detect. Since we do not know if a job site has active viral particles present, all jobs would need to be treated as contaminated due to the high risk of unknowns.

The natural response would be to transfer this associated risk to someone else, i.e., an insurance company where you pay a premium and in exchange the insurance company covers the associated risks. Without a hefty amount of actuarial data, insurance companies will run for the hills since the unknowns are too high for them to confidently insure the associated liabilities/risk, leaving business owners to self-insure or avoid the risk altogether.

An additional complexity is the quality of liability insurance purchased. There are sneaky exclusions in standardized General Liability policies that could very well deny coverage for a claim, such as a communicable disease exclusion. This is due to standard General Liability never being intended or created to cover risks from a viral pandemic, leaving business owners uninsured for CVOID-19 jobs they take on. If a consumer tries to use a product for something it was never intended to be used for, why would we think it would work?

There are a few insurance carriers who are not running for the hills; however, they are taking a very cautious approach to covering COVID-19-associated operations, and the insurance landscape changes every single day. Our environmental insurance brokerage firm has been tracking the offering of associated COVID-19 liability coverage from the start. The solution is for every business offering COVID-19 services to purchase a specialized contractor’s pollution liability with affirmative coverage for COVID-19 operations. This is easier said than done. The coverage is extremely difficult to obtain as the prequalification includes extensive jobsite experience related to biohazard work, prior training for biohazards, and multiple certifications held by key employees. Additionally, all field personnel must be trained in the knowledge of The COVID-19 Pandemic: A Report for Professional Cleaning and Restoration Contractors, Third Edition, May 28th 2020 or more recent versionsand special legal contracts must be in place for virus decontamination work.

In summary, is providing COVID-19 services worth risking your business? In my professional opinion it is a choice specific to your business and should be approached as a long-term service offering. If your business is contemplating taking on the risk without biohazard experience or training prior to the pandemic, I would caution you pause and evaluate if taking on that much risk is worth the potential reward, as it would be nearly impossible to transfer the risk to a third party if something goes wrong.