Nanotechnology: keeping abreast of new developments and risks

While nanotechnology continues to become an engine for economic growth through its use in innovative products, all parties need to find out more about the environmental, health and safety risks arising from nanomaterials during their life cycle.

The insurance industry’s interest is to keep pace with the rapid technological development in order to promote risk awareness, risk management and, above all, insurability. This was the prime motive behind a recent position paper on Nanotechnology compiled by the nine (re)insurance companies spearheading the CRO Forum’s Emerging Risks Initiative and authored by Zurich Financial Services and Swiss Re.

The paper concludes that a comprehensive view of the material life-cycle is key to coping successfully with the novel risks associated with nanotechnologies. From a risk management perspective, emphasis should be given to workplace safety and loss prevention in small- and medium-sized enterprises that are active in processing primary nanomaterials.

The authors point out that nanotechnology industries should have an interest in collaborating with enabling service providers such as the insurance and risk management industries, as well as with other stakeholders to close knowledge gaps as quickly as possible in four key areas: nanotech risk and safety standards; research into environmental, health, safety hazards; regulatory alignment and proprietary risk assessment.

As a leading reinsurance risk carrier, Swiss Re strives to remain at the forefront of efforts to identify and understand the insurability challenges posed by nanotechnology and other emerging risks. This is a vital element in safeguarding our clients against the financial consequences of adverse events, and to enable the economy and society to take the risks necessary for progress.

Download Nanotechnology: CRObriefing - Emerging Risks Initiative

Published 24 November 2010


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