Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fireman's Fund Offering Green Insurance

Firemans Fund Insurance Company a provider of green insurance for commercial buildings will launch green insurance for homeowners starting this summer.

This is reportedly the first-ever admitted green insurance available to homeowners in the United States. Firemans Fund (www.firemansfund.com/green) is offering this product to homeowners who currently own green homes or who want to upgrade their residences with green features after a loss using environmental safety and efficiency standards. If a home is completely destroyed, it can be rebuilt to green standards, certified as having Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design status (LEED , www.usgbc.org/leed).

We believe this is a trend-setting insurance solution for homeowners who are interested in the many benefits of going green at home, said Donald Soss, chief underwriting officer for Firemans Fund Personal Insurance.

Homeowners whose residences are already green will be offered a five percent discount on this coverage, applied to the homeowner premium.

According to the National Center for Healthy Housing (www.centerforhealthyhousing.org), homeowners can expect substantial health gains by building green.

With this new coverage, homeowners will be able to rebuild and replace with green alternatives such as:

  • Energy Star®-rated appliances, lighting, electronic equipment and roofing/insulation
  • An Energy Star upgrade of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems
  • Forest Stewardship Council (www.fcsus.org) certified wood for millwork, ceilings, siding and framing, including bamboo flooring
  • Non-toxic, low odor paints and carpeting
  • Water-saving plumbing fixtures
  • Elimination of ozone-depleting refrigerants and fire extinguishing agents, replaced with environmentally friendly alternatives
  • Debris removed after damage to a home will be recycled and diverted from landfill

The green homeowners insurance is now approved for homeowners in 26 states (Arizona, District of Columbia, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming), with most other states expected to offer the coverage by year-end. The Coverage will be available in California as part of the Prestige® Home Premier Policy on Aug. 1.

Firemans Fund first offered green insurance to the U.S. commercial marketplace in fall 2006. It gave the first financial incentive for green building owners a five percent discount on the policy premium for LEED-certified buildings. Vegetated roofs, plumbing and electrical systems, commissioning and the costs for green recertification fees for previously certified buildings are all included coverages that fill the gaps in traditional insurance policies.

The companys Commercial insurance division has expanded its green offerings to include historic buildings, hotels, restaurants, manufacturing facilities and commercial auto. Its Specialty insurance division also offers green coverage for commercial buildings that are under construction.

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