Pollution insurance is a type of insurance that covers costs related to pollution. This can include the costs of brownfield restoration and cleanup, liability for injuries and deaths caused by pollution.
The largest players in this industry are AIG, ECS/XL, Kemper and Zurich. One of the purposes for such insurance policies is so that when companies that cause environmental disasters go bankrupt, the victims can still be compensated. The insurance may also protect against cost overruns or regulatory changes that increase the cost of cleanup. The director of China's EPA (SEPA) has called for imposing mandatory pollution insurance on polluting industries.
According to the Cato Institute, legal theories of joint and several liability (e.g. under Superfund) and requirements by courts that insurers pay to help polluters clean up their own property (regardless of the insurance contract) have hurt the pollution insurance industry; but nonetheless, the basic idea of pollution insurance remains sound. Cato claims, "With the help of insurers and risk analysts, corporate risk managers select cost-effective products and processes, which minimize the sum of insurance premiums, expected payments to victims (in excess of insurance coverage), and risk-reduction expenditures."
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