While it won’t shock most casual insurance observers to hear that environmental pollution coverage is experiencing the same price softening as the rest of the property-casualty market, it does come as a surprise to brokers who specialize in the niche. Indeed, since its inception more than 20 years ago, brokers say this line has been relatively immune from soft market pressures. But increased competition–on top of declining demand, due to a slowing economy–have combined to prompt significant price drops, specialists report.

“It’s a buyer’s market,” said Michael Balmer, environmental practice leader for insurance broker Willis, headquartered across the street from Lloyd’s in London. “Some areas are particularly soft. In pricing terms, we are looking at certain program reductions of 25-to-35 percent–something not seen in the past.”

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