Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Nano risk for insurance companies

Allianz Gruppe International, a multi-national isurance company, just released a study highlighting the need for future research on the societal implications of nanotechnology. And while the report provides an excellent overview of many of the important issues surrounding nanotechnology, the insurers’ motivations, of course, are not entirely selfless. According to the report, most insurers

“… agree that the insurance industry is going to have to live with the uncertainties of nanotechnology related risks for a longer period of time and that it will not be able to quantify the probability of potential losses occurring and their possible extent.

In principle, many lines of business are considered to be potentially affected, including:
• Workers’ compensation,
• General and products liability
• Products recall,
• Environmental liability,
• Property (dust cloud explosion).

It is assumed that if health effects from certain engineered nanoparticles become ever manifest and causation can be established, then series of claims will almost certainly follow.”

(Click here for a PDF version of the full report.)