Zurich North America recently published the June 2009 edition of its Industry Insight online magazine which focuses exclusively on nanotechnology issues. The magazine contains four informative articles which are well worth reading:

  • "At the leading edge: Zurich’s thought leadership on nanotechnology;"
  • "No small thing: The enormous potential of nano;"
  • "The kings of small things: The regulatory environment for nanotechnology development;" and
  • "Large risks from small things? Myth and reality of nano-risks."

Our readers may be particularly interested in the "leading edge" article in which Zurich describes its nanotechnology emerging risk activities dating back to 2006. The article discusses Zurich’s involvement in ANSI’s TAG to ISO/TC 229 Nanotechnologies standards and nomenclature group; its ongoing efforts to make sure its voice is heard in the ongoing regulatory debate surrounding certain nanoscale materials; and the formation of a new Zurich Nanotechnology Exposure Protocol™ (ZNEP™).

As Zurich explains, its new ZNEP™ is a risk assessment protocol designed to understand potential nano-related insurance risks:

"By working closely with corporate customers, collecting data on the specific nano-particles they were using, learning about the specific applications where they’re employed, and then combining this information, Zurich could form a global overview of nanotechnology and its various facets of risk. Such an activity would not only be a very good way to protect is business, but it could form a basis for providing risk management advice to its customers going forward."

Zurich is working with Seattle-based Intertox to implement its ZNEP™, which it also hopes will dramatically shorten the lag time between discovery of new nanotechnology-based inventions and their insurability.  Readers may also recall that Zurich’s Director of Emerging Issues recently spoke on insurance issues at the very well-attended Nanotechnology Health and Safety Forum in Seattle, Washington.