Conversation with Lauren Cutro Berry

Co-Lead /Travelers Clean Energy & Technology Practice


Having worked with clean energy businesses for more than two decades, what led to the launch of this practice?

Global energy demands are increasing dramatically, and the burgeoning clean energy and technology industry is boasting continuous growth. In recent years the wind energy sector has become one of the most popular renewable power sources. In fact, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the U.S. wind industry has added more than 35 percent of all new generating capacity over the last four years. The fourth quarter of 2011 alone saw 3,444MW of wind power capacity installed, bringing total installations to 6,810MW for the year. To better serve this fast-growing sector, Travelers formed the Clean Energy & Technology Practice to maximize its investment and specialization in clean technology. The practice combines Travelers capabilities and expertise in underwriting, risk control, and claim, creating a centralized source for clean technology-focused insurance products, and risk and claim management resources. Through a single touch point, the practice offers rounded total account solutions, granting these customers access to holistic insurance coverage. It allows brokers and agents to serve their clean energy customers more efficiently and effectively.

How does your involvement in other sectors of renewable energy inform the services you can provide to the wind industry?

Travelers has a long history of working with companies across the clean energy and technology spectrum, focusing primarily on commercial onshore wind and solar industries. Our Inland Marine and Global Technology business groups, in particular, have been instrumental in driving services and creating industry-specific protection in areas including environmental performance, fuel cell development, smart grid, and alternative and renewable energy facilities. Travelers has extensive capabilities in supporting U.S.-based entities and those with an international presence, which focus on maintaining energy and environmentally friendly standards.

Travelers’ exposure to multiple platforms has allowed us to create a foundation of knowledge that is transferable across industries and to continuously enhance our industry expertise. In the cases of wind and solar, Travelers has established a unique project development process designed to facilitate crossover in each space. This includes site selection, land assessment, wind or solar assessment, environmental reviews, economic modeling for PPA, interconnection studies, permitting, sales agreements with PPA, financing, wind turbine or solar panel procurement, construction contracting, transportation, installation, and operations and maintenance.

These projects often uncover new risks and exposures of the emerging clean energy industry. In wind energy specifically, wind farms face unique risk exposures such as site location and assessment, contracts and agreements, and basic operations and maintenance. Our clean technology specialists understand new trends, risks, and solutions. In addition, our team is able to provide specialized underwriting, tailored risk management, and claims services in even the most nuanced areas.

Who needs to know about you within the wind energy industry, and what can you do for them?

The products and services offered by the practice are geared directly to manufacturers, contractors, power providers, owners, and developers in the commercial onshore wind industry. It encompasses the full spectrum of entities involved in every phase of wind energy production and management, whether it’s research and development, manufacturing, installation/builders’ risk, transportation, or permanent operations and servicing and maintenance of facilities. With the new practice Travelers has the ability to work with businesses in the wind industry for the entire lifespan of the company.

In turn, wind professionals have access to a national network and collaborative capabilities of industry specialists all under one umbrella. We are able to tap specific underwriters, risk control consultants, and claim specialists from across the company. Though these services are offered to wind energy professionals specifically, virtually any business in the renewable energy space can benefit from Travelers’ broad range of production and management capabilities. This advantage not only strengthens our ability to provide coverage tailored to meet the needs of those within the wind industry, but also allows us to proactively manage risk throughout the business lifecycle.

To learn more: Go online to Berry is also chief business development officer for Travelers Inland Marine.