In an interesting article from the Dallas Morning News, the paper noted that the state of Texas makes bounce house operators actually carry liability coverage, but there is no similar requirement for fertilizer plants like the West Fertilizer plant that exploded. In the West Fertilizer case, the plant had ammonium nitrate that detonated leveling the area surrounding it, causing extensive damage, injuries, and deaths. Yet the early indications are that this plant only carried $1 million in liability insurance coverage.
The paper noted that there are numerous industries in Texas that require liability insurance coverage including home exterminators, air-conditioning repair companies, and tow truck drivers. This type of insurance coverage would be responsible for injuries, deaths, and property damage that their insureds my cause. But this is not the case for plants that mix and store volatile materials like those stored at the West Fertilizer Company. On April 17, 2013, a fire and huge explosion ripped through the plant and much of the surrounding community killing 15 people and injuring 200.
According to the paper, three state agencies were interviewed and none of them could explain the exact reasons why there were not any liability insurance mandates for companies such as West Fertilizer. The likely conclusion was that the Texas Legislature had not created any rules requiring such coverage. Our firm urges the Texas Legislature to pass laws requiring at least $25 million in insurance coverage for industries that store these types of volatile materials.