The Hartford Financial Services Group has formed a new Renewable Energy unit to address the needs of renewable energy industry and capitalize on the industry's growth potential.

The Renewable Energy unit will offer specialized underwriting and a full suite of property and casualty insurance products and services for makers, builders and operators of renewable energy.

The Hartford Commercial Markets president Juan Andrade said that with the infusion of billions of dollars from investors, venture capitalists and the US government, the renewable energy industry is poised to become a sizeable source of economic activity and important market for insurance products.

The new unit will be based in The Hartford’s Southwest Regional office, under the leadership of regional vice president Tim Nelligan.

James Gardiner has been appointed to lead the Renewable Energy unit. He will be responsible for the unit’s overall execution and management with a focus on business development.

Gardiner will work closely with Nelligan in establishing the renewable energy field distribution strategy, with an initial focus in Texas, California and New Jersey this fall and a broader rollout planned for 2011.

In addition, Gardiner will also be collaborating with the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF) to understand the risk management needs and potential solutions for early stage renewable energy companies.

The Hartford has also appointed John Davison as renewable energy underwriting director, reporting to Gardiner.

Davison will be responsible for shaping The Hartford’s underwriting position and helping to deepen relationships with specialist distribution partners. He will be based in The Hartford’s Houston office.

Davison has more than 30 years of underwriting experience in the energy and related industries. Most recently, he served as senior underwriter in the global energy division of Zurich Insurance.

“The Renewable Energy unit will work closely with our sales team to identify opportunities for collaboration with agents and brokers in serving the needs of customers in this growing industry, Andrade said.