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While the approaches have varied, the insurance industry has responded to Europe's Environmental Liability Directive by revising the coverage they offer.
“Insurers initially embedded key ELD clauses into specialist environmental insurance policies, and over time they honed the cover to respond to other aspects of the directive, such as the ability to cover complementary and compensatory remediation,” said Cliff Warman, EMEA environment practice leader at Marsh Ltd. in London.
The insurance covers instances when pollution caused to the environment can be remediated, as well as instances when a site is so polluted that it would have to be replaced or when it may take many years to recover.
Buyer interest in purchasing environmental liability coverage also has increased, he said.
“The profile of buyers has broadened since the implementation of the directive,” Mr. Warman said. “Now, most types of companies will consider the cover rather than the traditional higher-risk operators and transactional, or mergers and acquisitions-based, purchases of pre-ELD days.”
Adequate insurance for environmental exposures is available in each European country, but different markets have taken different approaches to environmental insurance, said Jürgen Weichert, Munich-based head of global product development of liability at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, a unit of Allianz S.E.
“In some countries, the approach has been to offer specialty environmental liability (like the U.K.), but in others, like Austria and Germany, insurers have worked with their trade associations to develop cover for ELD risks under a general liability extension,” Mr. Weichert said.
“It is important to not just translate the insurance policy developed for one country and use it in another. Policies need to take into account local markets, law and language. And you also need people locally to handle claims and risk engineering,” he said.
When it comes to mergers and acquisitions, risk managers' help in assessing and mitigating exposures is particularly important where environmental risks are concerned.