Magazine article Risk Management

36th Annual RIMS Western Regional Conference: Environmental Liability

Magazine article Risk Management

36th Annual RIMS Western Regional Conference: Environmental Liability

Article excerpt

At the 36th Annual Western Regional Conference held from September 29 through October 2 in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, conference participants had the opportunity to meet with other risk managers and discuss some of the pressing issues of the day. The conference, which was sponsored by the Washington Chapter of RIMS, opened with a speech by Suzanne Crager, president of RIMS. "Currently, one of the more compelling concerns at RIMS is the NAIC's decision to rescind RIMS' status as a consumer advocacy group. However, this is by no means a dead issue, the battle has just begun."

One general session was held on the key issues surrounding environmental liability. "This is a prominent subject when you think of its costs," says William Hedrick, manager of liability risks and insurance litigation at the Boeing Company. "For example, Salomon Brothers estimates that the total costs of clean-up for Superfund sites will be $750 billion."

Mr. Hedrick says that risk managers must examine their companies to see if they are vulnerable to CERCLA liability exposures. "If you produce or dispose of hazardous or industrial waste, you should be concerned about the potential for liability, he says. In some cases, a company can even be held liable for pollution problems that occurred years ago and for which the company may not actually have been responsible. "In 1964 Boeing was given the go-ahead by state agencies to use a site owned by a recycling firm called Western Processing Company, which it used until 1977," says Mr. …

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