Insights

Chemical fires can occur at properties that stores hazardous chemicals. Due to the potential release of a multitude of chemicals and emergency responses from hazardous materials spill response teams, firefighters, and emergency remediation contractors, chemical fires lead to expensive and complicated losses. Chemical fires often destroy the site building and involve building, property, and pollution claims. VERTEX has significant experience investigating and managing claims arising from chemical fires. 

Chemical Fire Investigations

VERTEX is aware of the complications resulting from chemical fire claims. Through our experience, VERTEX knows the proper documentation to collect from the insured regarding chemical inventories to assist in properly identifying potential pollutants that may have been released. Additionally, VERTEX understands the environmental media that can be impacted by the chemical release associated with the fire, including soil, groundwater, surface water and air. Chemical releases from these fires can lead to fish kills, water use advisories, and air quality issues, resulting in regulatory fines and additional costs for the loss. Finally, VERTEX will work with property and building adjusters to determine appropriate remediation allocations between environmental, property, and building policies.

Claim Management

VERTEX understands the stress the insured is under and will determine the appropriate contact at the organization to ensure an expedited transfer of information and data from the remedial work. Additionally, VERTEX has extensive experience reviewing $1M+ emergency remediation invoices under expedited time constraints. VERTEX’s nationwide presence allows us to understand what additional remediation work is required to obtain site closure with either the state and/or federal regulatory agency. VERTEX will work with the insured and remediation contractor to calculate an Estimated Closure Budget (ECB) for the client, if requested.

Invoice Reviews

VERTEX will review and negotiate contractor rates and invoices to determine the reasonableness and necessity of invoiced costs.  Contractors will often apply unreasonable markups or per diems over the United States General Services Administration (GSA) rate for the remediation location. VERTEX has also found that contractors will rent equipment for weeks to months instead of purchasing the equipment for the remediation, leading to significant cost increases. Additionally, VERTEX will review the contractors’ mileage charge to ensure it complies with the Internal Revenue Service’s standard mileage rate. Upon request, VERTEX can expedite invoice reviews for our clients.

How can VERTEX help?

Chemical fires can lead to the release of significant volumes of a variety of hazardous chemicals. These releases can impact soil, groundwater, surface water quality, and air quality. VERTEX understands the complexity and stress associated with chemical fires for the property owners. VERTEX will work with all the involved parties to determine the appropriate allocation for the remedial aspect of the claim. Additionally, VERTEX has the internal knowledge to dispute excessive charges in invoices such as mileage rates, per diem rates, labor and equipment cost, and fuel surcharges. 

VERTEX continues to provide guidance and perform chemical fire claim investigations and management for our clients. If you have any questions regarding chemical fires and their management, please reach out to Michael Bator in the Morrisville, North Carolina office.

To learn more about VERTEX’s Environmental Claims Consulting services or to speak with an Environmental Expert, call 888.298.5162 or submit an inquiry

Author

Michael Bator

Senior Project Manager