The Evolving Environmental Insurance Market
Mitigating Risk and Opportunities for Brownfields Development:
On October 18, 2017, the Brownfields Coalition of the Northeast (BCONE) hosted an informative and insightful speakers’ conference on the evolving role environmental insurance is playing in reducing the uncertainties and risk associated with brownfield redevelopment projects. The event, sponsored by WCD Group, LLC and Advance Realty, presented an update on the dynamic environmental insurance market and how insurance is being effectively utilized in Brownfields transactions, risk transfer and mitigation, and site remediation.
Panelists included representatives from Great American Insurance Company, Beazley Insurance, AON Risk Solutions, WCD Group, Advance Realty, and Sills Cummis & Gross PC. This blend of environmental insurance underwriters, brokers, developers, consultants, and attorneys shared their different perspectives on why transacting parties need to take advantage of environmental insurance and how it can be a valuable asset throughout the transaction and the life of the property.
The conference and networking cocktail event, held at the New Jersey Center of Excellence in Bridgewater, also included a discussion on the various types of environmental insurance policies available today, each playing a different role offering complementary coverages at different stages of the transaction and redevelopment process.
On asking why he wanted to put this conference together, Chip D’Angelo, President of WCD and Moderator for the session commented, “Developers and their financial partners are always concerned with the environmental risk in a deal. While environmental insurance has always been a tool, the market is expanding and changing and includes the emergence of new and creative forms of environmental insurance products.”
The lively panel discussions included considerable audience participation, with members of the audience asking specific site issue questions, as well as sharing their professional experiences of how environmental insurance can be used as a tool to help promote the redevelopment of at-risk sites.
One audience participant commented that risk quantification is something that is required and often demanded by lending institutions as a condition for investment. It is the basis for understanding the deal and obtaining insurance. All concluded that environmental insurance can be used in facilitating the real estate transaction, bridging the gap between the seller and the buyer.