On September 14, 2016, the CPES and New England Women in Energy and the Environment (NEWIEE) hosted a joint panel discussion on Emerging Issues in Risk Management for Energy Infrastructure Projects. The event marked the second program collaboration between CPES and NEWIEE, following last year’s discussion on competitive electric transmission development in New England.
Elizabeth Barton, President of NEWIEE and Partner at Day Pitney, moderated a panel of accomplished women in the field, including:
- Denise M. Cosentino, Director, Enterprise Risk Management, Eversource Energy
- Donna Allard-Flett, Senior Vice President, Construction Services, Aon Risk Solutions
- Cristin K. Bullen, Senior Vice President, Northeast Environmental Leader, Marsh
- Noreen E. Kuziak, Director, Underwriting, Engineered Lines, Custom Account Division, The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company
The four panelists offered their unique perspectives on how to manage the risks associated with energy infrastructure projects through insurance-related tools and other strategies.
Denise Cosentino set the stage for the discussion, reflecting on the dramatic changes taking place in the energy industry over the years. She noted that the public perception of energy infrastructure projects has changed considerably, leading to increased involvement by the general public in the development of energy infrastructure projects. She explained that many of the challenges leveled against energy infrastructure projects include environmental and cultural resources challenges, as well as ‘Not in My Backyard’ (NIMBY) objections to the development of energy infrastructure. Many of these risks, she explained, can be met with extensive community outreach and engagement.
Donna Allard-Flett discussed the management of risk during the construction phase of energy infrastructure projects, particularly her experience with construction insurance and builder’s risk insurance. Donna also explained her experience with ‘wrap-up’ insurance, an insurance policy which protects all contractors and subcontractors working on a large project. A question that arises for many infrastructure projects, she explained, is who is best suited to hold the insurance policy – the general contractor or the owner of the project.
Cristin Bullen focused her remarks on environmental insurance of which there are two types: contractors pollution liability insurance and site pollution liability insurance. Contractors pollution liability insurance is designed to address environmental liabilities associated with the job-site operations of contractors; whereas, site pollution liability insurance is designed to address the unknown pre-existing pollution conditions of a job site. Cristin has worked in this specialized field for 17 years and explained that, these days, almost every commercial and industrial project requires environmental insurance to manage these environmental risks.
Finally, Noreen Kuziak offered concluding remarks, touching on the harshness of New England’s weather conditions and how they can impact energy infrastructure projects. Noreen explained that, from the insurance company perspective, she is primarily focused on developing loss control and maintenance programs for energy infrastructure projects, making sure every risk is identified and managed.