Rising Star Amanda Lania Talks About the Renewable Energy Space and Her Industry Mentors
Come see the Stars! As part of our ongoing coverage of the best brokers in the commercial insurance space, Risk & Insurance®, with the sponsorship of Philadelphia Insurance, is expanding its coverage of the Rising Stars, those brokers who represent the next wave of insurance brokering talent.
Look for these expanded profiles on the Risk & Insurance website and in your social media feeds now and continuing through 2022.
In this installment we talk to Amanda Lania, who earned her Power Broker stripes while at Beecher Carlson and now works at CAC Specialty.
Risk & Insurance: If you could name two people who had the biggest influence on the development of your career, who would they be and why?
Amanda Lania: It’s so hard to pick just two! But without a doubt, Geraldine Kerrigan has been a mentor since I started working for her ten years ago in a junior level position. She is one of the best, most technical brokers in the power gen and renewables industry and I’ve been so lucky to learn from her for the past decade.
Erin Lynch has also been influential in the development of my career – her vision and passion for our industry shaped the course of my specialization in renewable energy. Not to mention the value she puts on internal leadership and career development opportunities.
R&I: What have been some big lessons learned for brokers, insureds and underwriters in the renewable energy sector over the past year?
AL: It’s still a natural catastrophe story in the renewable energy sector, especially around hail, wildfire and flood. One of the biggest lessons learned for all parties is just how important mitigation efforts are to address natural catastrophe risk.
For solar, that could mean raising electrical equipment above base-flood elevation, maintaining a comprehensive vegetation management plan, and choosing technology like trackers with a stow mechanism in addition to careful site selection.
It’s my job as a broker to help tell my client’s story and highlight these mitigation efforts and engineering considerations so that insurers can price and underwrite terms and conditions accordingly, despite the generic modeling outputs.
R&I: If you look at the sector, where do you see the most exciting growth opportunities, not just in terms of premiums written but economic growth overall?
AL: It is such an exciting time to be part of the renewable energy industry. 2021 was a record-breaking year for renewables and we expect the unprecedented growth to continue in 2022.
This growth is largely driven by climate change and sustainability goals, in support of the global clean energy transition aiming to reduce energy-related carbon emissions. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives have also encouraged meaningful investment in the space.
One emerging opportunity supporting the greater climate transition I am currently working on and particularly excited about is solar construction on former coal mines. It’s a creative way to redevelop and repurpose mined lands while replacing fossil fuel operations with renewable energy and generating climate-friendly revenue streams. I think we can expect to see a lot more of this in the next few years.
R&I: How has your professional life changed during the pandemic in positive ways and perhaps ways that present challenges?
AL: As a new mom of a three-month-old when the pandemic began, moving to remote work proved to be a gift as far as work-life balance. I was able to get back 3 hours a day from commuting which allowed more time for productive work while also providing flexibility to balance family obligations.
My team already operated from offices all over the country, with clients all over the country, so communication and collaboration were not an issue once we went remote.
We are in a relationship business though, and I definitely missed the in-person meetings and events with clients, colleagues and carrier partners.
Another challenge, which I think all working parents of young children can attest to, is the juggle of navigating childcare duties due to COVID-related daycare closures while also maintaining a peak performance level at work. It’s not lost on me how fortunate I am to work where I do and for a mostly women (and mom)-led practice that understands these challenges and cultivates a flexible, supportive environment.
R&I: What’s the most impressive new insurance product that you’re aware of?
AL: I’m very excited about the launch of our risk advisory and consulting platform, Cirrus, which was designed to give project insurability guidance to early-stage energy developers.
There are so many considerations that energy developers face from site selection and natural catastrophe exposure to equipment technology choices to financing, and often times insurance is not considered at this early stage even though it will ultimately impact the project profitability.
Cirrus is committed to help guide these early-stage developers by issuing Risk and Insurability Reports that analyze all critical insurance-related issues during the initial stages of project planning, to ensure any potential insurability concerns can be mitigated and/or priced properly from the start.
It’s the first product of its kind in the market, and I’m confident it will be a game-changer for our sector in how renewable energy projects are developed and financed. &