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From the Front Lines: Environmental Insurance

“It's important to keep in mind that the contract wording varies from insurer to insurer,” says independent agent Bob Reynolds. “As a largely nonstandard line of coverage, the terms and conditions can vary widely.”
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From the Front Lines: Environmental InsuranceBob D. Reynolds


Morris & Reynolds Insurance

Miami, Florida

How did you get started at your agency?  

The Reynolds family has been in the insurance profession in Florida since 1910. My grandfather founded our firm, Morris & Reynolds Insurance, in 1950. I am the third generation of my family to own and operate the agency.

Why the environmental insurance market? 

For decades, Morris & Reynolds has been one of Florida's largest writers of energy, real estate and construction risks. Our clients in those and other industries have mission-critical environmental exposures that made placing such coverage a fundamental part of our work. 

Biggest industry changes?

More businesses are open to the suggestion that they should carry environmental protection as a core coverage. A couple of decades ago, a petroleum business would certainly carry environmental coverage, but it was less common to see it in manufacturing or real estate businesses. Today, a wide array of businesses understand the importance of such coverage and that it's not broadly covered in their other insurance. 

Biggest challenges?

While the capacity for coverage is generally strong, certain risks, including petroleum, face the same challenges currently being seen throughout the commercial market—tight underwriting and premium increases. The commercial market is, of course, a cyclical one and the current trends will not last forever, especially since capacity is abundant, but it's a short-term challenge for some risks.

Future trends? 

Being based in Miami, climate change and natural disasters from the threat of hurricanes is increasingly on our minds. As our planet warms, the impact of these events, from more numerous and more powerful storms to rising sea levels, is a reality that all stakeholders—be it insurers, reinsurers, businesses or regulators—must face. Unfortunately, catastrophic disasters from our warming world are already well underway.

Environmental insurance advice for a fellow agent?

It's important to keep in mind that the contract wording varies from insurer to insurer. As a largely nonstandard line of coverage, the terms and conditions can vary widely. It's also important to source quotes from all leading insurers and review the offers carefully. And it's wise to suggest coverage to all of your clients since so many different businesses have environmental exposures. 

Favorite success story?  

Our annual renewal process requires us to seek competitive quotes from the market each year and, while laborious, those steps allow us to negotiate the best terms, conditions and costs for our clients. In one recent case, our aggressive renewal process led us to suggest a new insurer that offered both better coverage and a premium that was half the former insurer's renewal quote, something that saved them nearly $50,000 while having better protection.

Olivia Overman is IA content editor.

Monday, March 29, 2021
Environmental Liability