Insurance Coverage for BP Oil Spill Claims

Thomson Reuters

PUBLISHED ON: November 30, 2010

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Many different types of companies and other enterprises have been harmed by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and they have been harmed in a variety of ways.

Most prevalent is the loss of profits suffered by companies that rely directly upon the Gulf waters and beaches for their livelihood; these include businesses in the commercial fishing, energy and tourism industries. The losses suffered in those industries set off chain reactions resulting in damages to their suppliers and customers, locally and across the country.

Other businesses will incur liability or at least legal fees in lawsuits alleging negligence and possibly malfeasance by corporate boards.

The losses and liabilities of many of the entities adversely affected by the spill are covered by property or liability insurance.

However, as explained below, certain conditions and exclusions found in many first-party property policies will present serious and sometimes fatal obstacles to insurance recoveries.