What are the biggest obstacles for solar project developers in securing insurance?
David Schroeder: For commercial-scale projects, the biggest obstacle to securing insurance has traditionally been the fact the insurance was not right-sized to meet their needs. The cost for minimum premiums for many carriers were exorbitant and so many developers decided not to insure their projects.
Why did GCube and Assurant partner to offer an insurance solar product offering?
Erin Cullen: At GCube, we had been looking to launch a warranty administration product for our customers that would provide them peace of mind in the event that something happened if an equipment manufacturer went out of business. We were excited to partner with Assurant to offer such a product, combining GCube’s expertise in renewable energy insurance with Assurant’s longstanding leadership in warranty administration products.
What are the respective roles of GCube and Assurant under this agreement?
David Schroeder: Assurant developed the insurance bundle and warranty administration product, which GCube offers to solar project developers through their existing broker channel. Insurance claims and evaluation of nonstandard photovoltaic projects are handled by Assurant.
What type of information must a solar project developer provide to get insurance?
David Schroeder: Working with GCube, we’ve developed a simplified form to ask where the project is, what is comprised of and when it will be constructed, completed and limits deductibles required by the project’s counterparties.
What are the typical type of solar insurance claims that would be made?
Erin Cullen: Typical insurance claims include solar module failures, inverter failures, start-up delays and damage caused by weather driven events such as floods, hail, and earthquakes
What has surprised you about market interest in the solar project insurance?
Erin Cullen: GCube and Assurant’s extensive research alerted us to the needs in the marketplace and we’ve been surprised about how rapidly insurance buyers have come to appreciate our added value. The market response confirms that there is a real need for this product across the commercial solar space.
Are you anticipating that the product you currently are offering to solar market participants will evolve? How so?
David Schroeder: Right now, the product is being well received. However, we do think the product will evolve to meet the changing needs of the marketplace. For example, the initial product was designed with specific projects in mind but we will be tailoring the product to focus on the needs of other participants in the value chain such as manufacturers, financing parties and operators. Because of our offering's unique attributes, we are also seeing inquiries from developers of residential portfolios and larger utility scale projects.
Are you looking into the insurance needs of other alternative energy industries such as wind etc.?
Erin Cullen: Right now, working with Assurant, we are focusing on providing the insurance bundle for commercial-scale sized solar projects. However, if they decide to offer products for alternative energy sources we’d be happy to work with them. We have a tremendous amount of experience in the industry and for 20 years have been the leading provider of insurance services, offering comprehensive property and liability coverage for utility scale renewable energy projects including wind, geothermal, hydro, and biofuel technology.
For more information about Assurant Solar Project Insurance go to http://www.assurantsolar.com
David A. Schroeder
Vice President of Operations and Industry Relations
David A. Schroeder is vice president of operations and industry relations for the solar industry at Assurant, Inc., a Fortune 500 company providing specialized insurance products and related services in North America and select worldwide markets. In this role, Mr. Schroeder represents Assurant with potential customers and solar industry partners in support of Assurant Solar Project Insurance. He also oversees underwriting, policy administration, claims and customer service.
Prior to joining Assurant, Schroeder headed Project Risk Limited, LLC and served as a risk management and underwriting consultant to various financing parties such as commercial, investment and development banks, credit facilities, insurance companies and income funds. He also was an underwriter with an insurance intermediary specializing in power and energy. In his career, Schroeder has consulted on renewable energy projects with a total electrical generation capacity of 42 gigawatts across 38 countries.
Schroeder graduated from Evangel University with a Bachelor of Science and is a Certified Insurance Counselor.
GCube Insurance Services Inc.
Erin Cullen is responsible for new business development and underwriting for utility and commercial scale solar projects throughout the US.
Previously, Erin worked as a Placement Specialist in the National Brokerage Property Practice at Marsh, New York. During her tenure at Marsh, Erin was responsible for the marketing, negotiating, and binding of All-Risk Property, Builder’s Risk, Equipment Breakdown, and Excess Catastrophe programs. Erin graduated from Wake Forest University with a BS in Biology.