Nanotech 2010

Potential Insurance Coverage Issues Arising from Nanotechnology: Big Risks Could Come in Small Packages

A.J. Fink
Howrey LLP, US

Keywords: Insurance, Coverage, Risk

Abstract:

Businesses involved with nanotechnology should undertake risk management that assesses the potential losses that could arise as a result of nanotechnology and develop a broad insurance coverage program that takes these risks into account. Some of the types of claims that should be considered are: occupational hazard, property claims, business interruption, environmental-related, products liability, intellectual property, errors & omissions, and directors & officers. Having been hit hard by the asbestos, environmental and toxic tort insurance liabilities in the United States, many insurers fear being confronted with similar “long tail” liabilities that may arise out of nanotechnology. At the present time, insurers are generally carefully monitoring nanotechnology, including keeping a close watch on regulatory proposals around the world and partnering with research firms. For instance, Zurich in North America has partnered with Intertox, a health-based research and consulting firm in Seattle, Washington. Recognizing the importance of nanotechnology, insurers are taking a cautious approach toward insuring nanotechnology entities but in general, are not issuing wide-spread exclusions. The exception is Continental Western Insurance Group, which has issued what purports to be a nanotechnology-specific exclusion.
 
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