IHA Offers Prop 65 Protection Insurance Program

The International Housewares Association is partnering with Wells Fargo Insurance to provide a new insurance program that the association said can help members mitigate their liability under the California Proposition (Prop) 65 legislation.

The Prop 65 protection program provides protection from the costs associated with defending a Prop 65 lawsuit specific to plasticizers, including fines, penalties and legal costs.

California Prop 65 became law in 1986 and requires product manufacturers, distributors and formulators to provide “clear and reasonable” warnings on products sold in California that contain chemicals known to be carcinogenic, or to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm, if exposure to those chemicals from the product exceeds the safe harbor level.

Wells Fargo has developed an insurance program that specifically provides protection from fines and legal fees for housewares suppliers with items that contain any of the current 19 plastics covered under the Prop 65 definition. These plastics are used to add flexibility to many commonly used housewares products, including storage containers, mats and any housewares item with an electric cord.

“Enforcement of Prop 65 occurs through civil lawsuits, and, unlike most other regulations which require the plaintiff to prove harm related to the claim, private citizens who sue are not required to do so,” said Phil Brandl, IHA president and CEO. “General liability, product liability and pollution liability policies do not protect against these claims, leaving housewares suppliers vulnerable to costly settlements. Companies have paid millions of dollars in fines and penalties for alleged failure to properly provide a warning label for consumers. This specialized insurance will help our members, especially small and medium-sized companies, have peace of mind that they are protecting their businesses from these onerous suits.”

The coverage is offered through Wells Fargo Insurance and will be serviced by Safehold Special Risk Inc., a division of Wells Fargo Insurance. More information about the program, including an online application, is available on IHA’s website.