(Bloomberg) -- Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the firm controlled by billionaire Warren Buffett, is pushing to sell more insurance to energy and construction companies by offering as much as $25 million in new pollution coverage.
The protection is an add-on to traditional general liability coverage, according to a statement today from Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, the parent company’s Boston-based commercial unit. Other carriers provide stand-alone policies for pollution-related incidents.
“A lot of people buy pollution coverage in the market, and we felt like it was a coverage we needed to offer,” Chuck Hasselback, the head of BHSI’s environmental group, said in a phone interview.
Buffett has been expanding in commercial insurance since 2013, when he hired executives from American International Group Inc. to start BHSI. The 84-year-old chairman of Omaha, Nebraska- based Berkshire uses premiums from the business and other insurers like Geico for stock picks and takeovers. The funds have helped him build Berkshire into the fourth-biggest company in the world by market value.
Berkshire is already among the largest reinsurers of asbestos and environmental policies. It has struck deals with carriers including AIG, CNA Financial Corp. and Liberty Mutual Holding Co. to backstop policies. In exchange, Buffett got funds that can be invested until claims are paid.
Hasselback, 44, said he joined BHSI in August and will be training general-liability policy underwriters to offer the new pollution product. He most recently worked in product development at AIG’s subsidiary Lexington Insurance Co., according to the statement.
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