Coverage for Environmental Cleanup Costs: History of the Word “Damages” in the Standard Form Comprehensive General Liability Policy

Monday, January 1st, 1990 at 12:00 am by Jordan S. Stanzler & Charles A. Yuen
Jordan S. Stanzler & Charles A. Yuen, Coverage for Environmental Cleanup Costs: History of the Word “Damages” in the Standard Form Comprehensive General Liability Policy, 1990 Colum. Bus. L. Rev. 449

Direct evidence of an individual insurance company’s original drafting intent on many policy interpretation issues, including the “damages” issue, will rarely exist. Most existing insurance companies played no role in drafting the original policy language in the late 1930s, so it is unlikely they had an original “intent” on interpretational issues. Yet existing insurance companies adopted the “damages” language when they adopted the standard form CGL policy language. They intended to adopt standard interpretations of the damages language when they issued the standard form CGL. The authors of this article have reviewed and here set forth evidence from the usual industry sources for such interpretations. The evidence presented in this article encompasses the sources insurance companies review when they seek guidance for interpretations of standard insurance policy language. It illustrates how the insurance industry contemplated and chose many broad meanings for the word “damages” contained in the standard form CGL.

Author Information

Jordan S. Stanzler, Member of Anderson Kill Olick & Oshinsky, P.C., New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Honolulu. A.B. 1967, Harvard University; J.D. 1972, University of Chicago Law School; L.L.M. Taxation 1987, New York University Law School. Charles A. Yuen, Associated with the firm of Jacob, Medinger & Finnegan, New York. B.S.E. 1982, Princeton University; J.D. 1985, University of Michigan Law School.