Insurance Goes Nuclear

Mar 18, 2011

If you lived in the shadow of a nuclear power plant would you have any insurance to cover your loss due to a nuclear accident?  As events unfold at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following the devastating earthquake and tsunami, it makes you wonder what the answer would be here in the US.  As it turns out, the answer is “No” and “Yes”!

“No” because standard property/casualty insurance policies issued in the United States exclude coverage for property damage and personal injury caused by such accidents.  So you can’t buy your own first party coverage to protect your property.  All claims must be channeled through the nuclear power plant operator.

“Yes” because nuclear power plant owners in the U.S. are required by law to have liability insurance in place that covers any individuals and businesses located in the affected area who suffer damages in the event of a nuclear accident, according the Insurance Information Institute (III).

The I.I.I. says that a program for compensating the public for damage and injury caused by a commercial nuclear accident in the United States exists under the Price-Anderson Act. The measure, first passed by Congress in 1957 and renewed four times, most recently in 2005, ensures that adequate funds are available to satisfy liability claims for property damage and personal injury to the public and limits the liability of companies involved in certain nuclear activities, such as power plant operators, in order to encourage the development of private nuclear power. The measure also channels liability to the nuclear facility owner or operator.

Currently, there is nearly $13 billion in liability insurance protection available to be used in the event of a commercial nuclear accident. The level of available insurance protection serves as the liability cap.

Under Price-Anderson, claims can be for any nuclear-related incident including those that result from theft, sabotage, transporting or storing nuclear fuel or waste and the operation of nuclear reactors. Claims covered include bodily injury, sickness, disease resulting in death, and property damage and loss, as well as reasonable living expenses for individuals who are evacuated from an affected area.

For more information including the “Two Tiers of Coverage” and “Three Mile Island” information please read more

Source: Insurance Information Institute, New Release – Mar 17, 2011

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