Golf Course Management

JAN 2017

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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34 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.17 Be protected in the face of environmental mishaps Consider the following scenarios that golf course superintendents could find themselves faced with: • A golfer places his cigar on the grass in the tee box, which has recently been treated with a pesticide. The golfer suffers a reaction to the pesticide when he smokes the cigar, and dies. A wrongful death suit results in a settlement of $1.4 million. • A storage building that contains chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides has a drain that leads to a dry well. A series of small spills over several years migrate into the drain and dry well. From there, the chemicals seep into the groundwater and move to a neigh - bor's property. Remediation expenses and li- abilities result in costs of $450,000. • A waste disposal recycling firm that your facility uses goes bankrupt and leaves spent batteries and chemical waste at its site. The state orders all generators of the waste to pay for the cleanup and removal. Because the golf course was among the originators of the waste, it pays legal defense and a portion of the waste removal, which totals $150,000. • An aboveground storage tank containing diesel fuel develops rust and a small leak. A retention pond near the tank begins to show an oil sheen, and the tank was found to be the source of the oil. On-site remediation, legal and investigation expenses add up to $175,000. What do all of these situations have in com - mon? They are actual claims paid by insurance companies across the country. Fortunately, all the golf courses involved had received adequate advice and had the proper coverage needed to protect them. Why highlight these claims? All too often, new clients ask for an evaluation of their insur - ance programs and their exposures, and protec- tion against such incidents is an area that needs a lot of attention. Many golf course owners see a coverage called "Application of Pesticides and Herbicides" and think they're covered for any pollution claims. In fact, this endorsement only safeguards you during the application, mixing and storage resulting in third-party bodily injury and property damage. It would not have provided coverage for any of the above claim scenarios. Of course, the first step should always be prevention. Here are some key issues to consider: • What chemicals are you applying? Are they biodegradable? When are you apply - ing them? • Are all employees or subcontractors who spray or otherwise apply chemicals certified by the state? If you use a subcontractor, did you receive a hold-harmless agreement, and are you named as an "additional insured" on the contractor's Environmental Impairment Liability Policy? • Do you have any underground storage tanks? How old are they? Have they been examined and tested for leaks? Even with "best practices" in place to re - duce the likelihood of an environmental claim, it's wise to protect your facility with a Premises Environmental Policy. In addition to providing (environment) coverage for the previously mentioned claims, such policies also provide coverage for: • Regulated hazardous materials or waste • Petroleum storage tanks • Wastewater treatment • Optional Business Interruption coverage, for loss of income because of the course being shut down for cleanup of contamination on the course grounds • Optional Waste Disposal Liability cover - age, for lawsuits and superfund liability for cleanup of a waste disposal site to which you shipped waste (you are still responsible for the waste as the "generator") Finally, are you working with an agent and insurance company that specialize in golf course insurance coverage? My employer — the PGA Preferred Golf Course Insurance Pro - gram, administered by Bouvier Insurance — is among those companies, and can assist you with an assessment of your insurance expo - sures and develop a customized program to suit your facility's needs. Editor's note: T is article is intended as a sum - mary of potential exposures for illustration pur- poses only and is not intended to serve as a specific plan for your facility. Raymond S. Irvin is a director with the PGA Preferred Golf Course Insurance Program. The program is administered by Bouvier Insurance, which is based in West Hartford, Conn. Raymond S. Irvin rirvin@binsurance.com Keep your focus on agronomy and away from potential environment-related legal matters by evaluating what your insurance coverage encompasses — and what it may not. Photo by Montana Pritchard

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