Upcoming Miami Seminar: What happens when the bugs stop working? Technical and legal dilemmas in a biogas plant failure

Anaerobic digesters failed at an alcohol distillery requiring the insured to spend over $1M for alternative fuel to fire their boilers.

Was the failure caused by toxicity to the bacteria due to nearby aerial pesticide spraying, or was it an operational failure?  If an operational failure, was it equipment breakdown or operator error?

There are two fundamental pieces for assessing injury from a potential pollution event:  exposure assessment and toxicity assessment.  Exposure assessment addresses questions such as:

Did the substance come into contact with the biological entity (environment or organism)?

How was the substance changed as it moved through the environment and over time? and…

How much of the substance came into contact with the biological entity and what type of contact was there (e.g., ingestion, inhalation, etc.)?  Toxicity assessment addresses the fundamental question What adverse effects are expected at the exposure levels estimated?



From the bugs’ perspective in a bioreactor, conditions relating to pH, temperature, and other variables have to be maintained in a fairly delicate balance during normal operations where significant deviations can result in a massive die-off of bacteria and plant shut-down.  Pieter Booth (Exponent) will explore methodological approaches for ruling out causation of toxicity as well as approaches to analysis of operational data to determine potential operational failures and Lorena Ávila (Kennedys Americas) will explore the main legal aspects. She will discuss the importance of having clear definitions and exclusions in All Risks Policies and the existence of physical loss or damage in order to trigger cover under an All Risk Policy.


This is a taste of what we will see at the 2016 Miami | Latin American Claims (re) Insurance Forum



Date: April 5th 2016


5:15 pm Registration

5.30 pm Conference

6:00 Informal discussion

6:15 Networking

Where: Malbec Room of Novecento 1414 Brickell Ave, MIAMI, FL 33131

Registration deadline: April 4th 2016 at 1:00PM. Only 40 available tickets.

To register, please send an email to: david.roig@kennedyslaw.com

Also by LinkedIn:

View David ROIG's LinkedIn profile View David ROIG’s profile

Casual attire. Cost for this event: Free

Topic to be presented by Pieter Booth and Lorena Ávila:


Mr. Pieter Booth is a Principal Scientist in Exponent’s EcoSciences practice with 29 years of experience as an environmental scientist and program manager specializing in environmental toxicology and risk assessment, environmental damages assessment, and restoration of natural systems.  He has conducted environmental audits in support of insurers regarding emergency response and cleanup and environmental restoration in Peru and Ecuador and has worked on projects in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Guyana, Panama, Ecuador, and Peru.  Mr. Booth is a native Spanish speaker.


Exponent is well respected and regarded for its independent and scientifically-sound research and analysis. For nearly 50 years we have provided engineering, scientific, environmental and health consulting services to corporations, insurance carriers, government agencies, law firms and individuals. The firm has been best known for analyzing accidents and failures to determine their causes, but in recent years it has become more active in assisting clients with human health, environmental, engineering and regulatory issues associated with new products or processes to help prevent problems in the future.

Our multidisciplinary organization of scientists, physicians, engineers, and regulatory consultants brings together more than 90 technical disciplines to address complicated issues facing industry and government today. We employ the best and the brightest from the major academic institutions around the world as well as technical specialists from a variety of industries. Over 50% of our staff hold a PhD or MD in their chosen field of study.  Exponent operates an office in Miami as well as 25 other offices in the US, the EU and the Far East.



Lorena Ávila. Associate Kennedys Americas. Qualified in Venezuela.

Lorena is a qualified professional with a wide range of experience in the legal insurance sector. Previous to join Kennedys’ Miami office in June 2012, Lorena worked in a boutique law firm in Venezuela for 6 years.

She haLorena Avilas been assisting our director on international major reinsurers and insurers on large and complex claims in Venezuela and Latin America. Lorena has experience on regulatory matters and providing legal assistance to international banks, multinational agencies and corporations, drafting legal opinions regarding to corporate, tax and labour matters such as, foreign investments regulations, agreements to avoid double taxation, income tax, among others and corporate due diligences to oil and steel companies.

Lorena is a Spanish native speaker and is fluent in English; she is the main researcher of the 3rd edition of The Guide of insurance and reinsurance law in Latin America and Iberian Peninsula.

About Kennedys Americas

Kennedys Number OneAfter decades working for international carriers on Latin American & Caribbean claims from London and Madrid, Kennedys was the first international insurance law firm to open a boutique office in Miami in 2010 as a hub to manage claims, regulatory issues, policy analysis and audits across the region. Since that moment, Kennedys Miami office has been the hub for Latin America and has been working with a network of Latin American and Caribbean law firms.

Kennedys has associated offices in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico and long-standing relationships with leading insurance and reinsurance law firms in the rest of the region.

The Miami office now counts with two business units, one focused in Latin America & Caribbean and the other in the US. Heading the Latin America & Caribbean business unit is and will remain to be Alex Guillamont, while Neil Bayer now stands as the head of US practice.

The Latin America & Caribbean business unit in Miami has a team of expert insurance lawyers from Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Panama and Venezuela.

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About Insurance Professionals Miami

Insurance Professionals Meetings in Miami is an insurance and reinsurance forum useful for professionals of the insurance sector and to share experiences, knowledge and expertise.
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