Another insurance company has entered the nanotechnology risk debate.  In addition to Lloyd’s and Swiss re, ACE Casualty Risk recently released both a white paper and podcast discussing nanotechnology issues.

The podcast discusses the white paper, and the topics within it, but is an additional layer provided by ACE Casualty in the discussion concerning nanotechnology risk management.

Excerpts from the 20-minute podcast include: 

  • “Nanotechnology offers vast promise and commercial opportunities. Opportunity, however, goes hand in hand with risk."
  • ”Nanotechnology adds an entirely new and largely unexplored realm of risks spread across the entire spectrum of modern commerce. These emerging risks require a sophisticated approach by risk managers and businesses."
  •  "These risks carry with them the potential for far-reaching effects on market cycles, manufacturing, and the safety, security, and well-being of consumers. The task of identifying these risks is complicated by the fact that scientists are still discovering how nanoparticles perform in manufactured products and how they react with humans and the environment.”
  • “As nanotechnology plays a growing role in commerce, insurers and underwriters will be increasingly taking these risks into account. Risk managers and insurers should strive to keep ahead of the issue of risk identification as nanotechnology makes its impact felt in the manufacturing, legislative, regulatory, and legal arenas, as well as in the realm of insurance underwriting.”

I think this last statement is the most telling: putting the responsibility on risk managers to stay in front of the issues so as to not be taken off-guard.  Interestingly, too, is that of the four sectors named at the end, three address governance and legal concerns.

The fact that more insurance companies are starting to seriously consider these issues should continue to tell us something.  While there is still great uncertainty concerning any regulatory developments, the market continues to find ways to regulate itself.  Should insurance companies begin restricting coverage, or drastically altering coverage, for nanomaterials, a shift in the sector, both in terms of manufacturing and use, is likely to occur.  This is a deliberate process to be sure, but one that continues to evolve.