First Nano-Specific Insurance: Lexington Insurance Company Introduces LexNanoShield

To our knowledge, this press release announces the first nano-specific liability insurance coverage available in the United States. Many nano-related businesses have been waiting a long time for a product like this. It will be interesting to see industry reaction.


Lexington Insurance Company Introduces LexNanoShieldSM
March 30, 2010 10:15 AM Eastern Daylight Time

NEW YORK--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Lexington Insurance Company, a Chartis company, today introduced LexNanoShield, an integrated insurance product and array of risk management services designed for firms whose principal business is manufacturing nanoparticles or nanomaterials, or using them in their processes.

“LexNanoShield can help insureds assess and manage these new nanotechnology exposures.”
For the exposures faced by these pioneering companies, LexNanoShield includes liability coverage that provides protection for general liability, product liability, product pollution legal liability and product recall liability exposures. In addition, first party product recall coverage is available to reimburse expenses incurred if a product containing nanoparticles or nanomaterials is recalled from the market for safety reasons. LexNanoShield also provides insureds with legal, technical and loss control consulting services to help develop, implement and assess nanotechnology-specific risk management programs.

“The enhanced reactivity of materials on the nanoscale has led to sunscreens you can’t see, clothes that don’t wrinkle, and paint coatings that don’t scratch. Because many of these products and others like them are relatively new, they require unique coverage and service,” said Tom McLaughlin, Lexington’s Senior Vice President of Specialty Casualty. “LexNanoShield can help insureds assess and manage these new nanotechnology exposures.”
 

For more information regarding LexNanoShield, contact Bob Nevin, Product Line Manager, at 617-772-4546 or robert.nevin@chartisinsurance.com, or Tom McLaughlin, Senior Vice President of Lexington’s Specialty Casualty unit, at 617-330-8555 or thomas.mclaughlin@chartisinsurance.com. You can also visit www.lexingtoninsurance.com.
 

New Edition of Nanotechnology Law Report

New Edition of Nanotechnology Law Report

Inside you will find:

  • EPA Considering New Approach to Nanoscale Materials Under TSCA
  • EPA May Issue Mandatory Data Collection Rule for Nanoscale Materials Under TSCA
  • EPA Takes Aim at Antimicrobial Products Under FIFRA
  • EPA Unveils New Principles for Chemical Management Reform
  • EPA Report on the Use of Nanoscale TiO2 in Water and Sunscreens
  • EPA Withdraws Carbon Nanotube SNURs
  • Press Release: New Contributing Editor for InterNano
  • Virginia CLE presentation: “Insurance, Nanotechnology, and Risk”
  • Nanoparticles and Deaths in the People’s Republic
  • Sweating the Small Stuff
  • Soil Association Cites China Deaths in Renewed Call for Moratorium on Nanotechnology Commercialization
  • Nanotechnology Legislation in the 111th Congress
  • Mapping Nano
  • Flight of the Nanobees

 

Virginia CLE presentation: "Insurance, Nanotechnology, and Risk"

For anyone interested, I am presenting my recently approved Virginia CLE presentation "Insurance, Nanotechnology, and Risk" in mid-September to a national intellectual property law firm based here in D.C.  The presentation covers issues related to the alleged environmental, health, and safety (EHS) risks accompanying certain nanoscale materials from the perspective of both the insured and insurer. Particular emphasis is placed on (i) insurer approaches to EHS risk and uncertainty, (ii) the first commercial insurance exclusion for nanotechnology in the US, (iii) industry reaction to certain recent adverse EHS studies concerning carbon nanotubes, and (iv) three initial steps nano-related businesses should consider when dealing with these issues. The PowerPoint was originally presented at the Nanotechnology Health and Safety Forum in Seattle in June 2009, and the National Nanotechnology Initiative also asked for it to be presented at the opening plenary for its October 2009 workshop on "Nanomaterials and the Environment & Instrumentation."  I anticipate additional presentations of the CLE in D.C. and Virginia over the upcoming months.  Please let me know if you have any interest in attending one of the future sessions and I will try to hook you up for some free CLE credit.

Nanotechnology Insurance Issues

For anyone who might be interested, I will be speaking on nano-related insurance issues at the opening plenary of the National Nanotechnology Initiative's upcoming Oct. 6 -7 conference and workshop on Nanomaterials and the Environment & Instrumentation.  The draft agenda for the conference can be found here, and the plenary is also supposed to be broadcast on the web.  I will post the information for the simulcast as we get closer to the conference date.  Cost, location, and registration info. is here.

Zurich Insurance Unveils New Nanotechnology Exposure Protocol

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.

Nano Insurance Conference

Chubb Insurance is hosting a one-day nanotechnology insurance conference on October 13, 2009 in North Branch, New Jersey:

"Nanotechnology: What is the Best Safety and Risk Management Approach?" 

From the conference website:

"This conference brings together prominent nanotechnology speakers who will review nanotechnology background, health and safety, and potential insurance and liability issues. Current risk assessment and 'best practice' controls will be shared, helping attendees better recognize and manage potential nanotechnology risks. A nanotechnology toolkit will be provided to help attendees stay abreast of critical developments in this dynamic field."

Speakers include: Charles Geraci (NIOSH), Charles Kingdollar (General Reinsurance Corp.); John Monica (Porter Wright); Susan Berry (DRS Technologies); Ganesh Skandan (NEI Corp.); William Barr (Chubb); Erik Olsen (Chubb); and Louise Vallee (Chubb).

More from the conference website:

Emerging risks require new risk management practices. Nanotechnology applications have outpaced safety and health research. The big challenge is trying to figure out a risk management roadmap when there is a scientific and regulatory abyss with the potential for future litigation looming in the distance. Companies that delay nanotechnology innovation awaiting safety consensus or regulations risk falling behind the competition. While these tiny materials and processes are big business, many risk managers and insurance buyers haven’t fully considered potential risks to employees, consumers and the environment, resulting in workers compensation, product liability and environmental liability exposures. Company risk managers and insurance buyers would value and benefit from knowledgeable broker and agent guidance. Application and control strategies considered now may have far-reaching future implications.

Nano insurance issues have received a lot of renewed interest lately.  This should be a great conference on the topic and is open to the public.  Hope to see you there.

Nanotechnology Health and Safety Forum -- June 8 - 9, 2009

The Nanotechnology Health and Safety Forum which is being sponsored by Battelle, Porter Wright, University of Washington, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and several others is taking place on June 8 - 9, 2009 at the Edgewater Hotel in Seattle, Washington.

Keynote speakers include: Dr. Leroy Hood, Co-Founder of the Institute for Systems Biology; Dr. Kenneth Dawson, Director of the Centre for BioNano Interactions; Dr. Justin Teeguarden Senior Research Scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and recent co-author of the NRC's assessment of the NNI's EHS research strategy; Dr. Vladimir Murashov from NIOSH; Dr. Saber Hussain from the Air Force Research Laboratory; former U.S. Congressman George Nethercutt; and Dr. Robert Tanguay from Oregon State University.

The program has 4 units:  Framing the Unknown; nanoEHS Perspective; Insurance, Nanotechnology, and Risk; and Nanotechnology: The Next Ten Years.

I will be speaking on the Insurance, Nanotechnology, and Risk panel on the second day of the conference along with Steve Knutson from Zurich North America; Walter Andrews from Hunton & Williams; and William E. Barr from Chubb Insurance.

You can sign up for the conference here.  Hope to see you there.

Nanotechnology Health and Safety Forum -- Seattle, June 8 - 9, 2009

Battelle Memorial Institute, the University of Washington, and the University of Oregon are co-sponsoring the international Nanotechnology Health and Safety Forum (NHSF) in Seattle, Washington on June 8 - 9, 2009.  The NHSF is coinciding with the first world-wide meeting of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) TC 229 -- Nanotechnologies being held in the United States, and will take place at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center.

Topics covered at the NHSF will include:

  • The EHS Progress Report: today's status and tomorrow's next steps
  • International Standards: developing a timeline & milestones
  • Navigating Regulations: encouraging dialogue between Europe, Asia, and the U.S.
  • Safety Guidelines: state of the science and recommended occupational safety guidelines for working with nanomaterials
  • Managing Risk: the insurance industry perspective
  • What's New: current activities of innovative nano-manufacturers

I have been invited to speak on the insurance/managing risk panel along with speakers from Riddell Williams, Hunton & Williams, Zurich North America, and Chubb Insurance:

The availability of insurance for entities using nanotechnology is critical to the further development and application of nanomaterials in industry. Yet the widening use of nanotechnology (while toxicology remains to be determined) is a central concern for the global insurance industry. Insurance, Nanotechnology, and Risk addresses the prospects for managing nano risk through the perspectives of a Silicon Valley loss control specialist, a major international underwriter, and liability / coverage counsel.

This should be a great conference with an international focus; plus Seattle in June is going to be a lot of fun. Hope to see you there.

 

First Commercial Insurance Exclusion for Nanotechnology

Earlier today, Continental Western Insurance Group issued what appears to be one of the first nano-specific commercial insurance exclusions in the United States.  Although Continental originally posted the exclusion and two supporting documents on its website, the materials were removed after BNA published an article about the exclusion this morning. We managed to print out the material before it was taken down and we provide links to it in this article.

Regular readers will recall that we have been covering nano-related insurance coverage issues for some time.  Prior posts are here, here, here, here, here, and here

A summary of each of Continental's three documents follows:

Background on Nanotubes

Continental's "Background on Nanotubes" document explains the policy behind its exclusion:
"The intent of this exclusion is to remove coverage for the, as of yet, unknown and unknowable risks created by products and processes that involve nanotubes. The exclusion is being added to make you and your customers explicitly aware of our intent not to cover injury and/or damage arising from nanotubes, as used in products and processes…"

The primary reason for the exclusion appears to be recent reports comparing carbon nanotubes to asbestos. You can find information about the press coverage of the May 2008 articles comparing multi-walled carbon nanotubes to asbestos here. Another factor in Continental's decision appears to be the often cited nano consumer product inventory published by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. 

Based on the asbestos analogy and PEN's product database, Continental concludes that it "would not be prudent for us to knowingly provide coverage for risks that are, as of yet, unknown and unquantifiable. We are all too aware of what happened to companies involved with asbestos-related exposure in the past, and see this as a very similar issue."

Notice to Policyholders

Continental's draft Notice to Policyholders makes it clear that it covers most of Continental's insurance groups, including: Acadia Insurance Company; Continental Western Insurance Company; Fireman's Insurance Company of Washington, D.C.; and Union Insurance Company. The notice references the actual exclusion which is attached and explains that this "endorsement excludes bodily injury, property damage, and personal and advertising injury related to the exposure of nanotubes and nanotechnology in any form. This include the use of, contact with, existence of, presence of, proliferation of, discharge of, dispersal of, seepage of, migration of, release of, escape of, or exposure to nanotubes or nanotechnology."

Nanotubes and Nanotechnology Exclusion

The exclusion itself reiterates that this "endorsement excludes bodily injury, property damage, and personal and advertising injury related to the exposure of nanotubes and nanotechnology in any form. This include the use of, contact with, existence of, presence of, proliferation of, discharge of, dispersal of, seepage of, migration of, release of, escape of, or exposure to nanotubes or nanotechnology." 

It further contains specific exclusions for "existence, storage, handling, or transportation of 'nanotubes' or 'nanotechnology'…any manufacturing processes or products including same, and any losses arising from lawsuits related to 'nanotubes' and/or 'nanotechnology.'"

The exclusion defines "nanotubes" as "hollow cylinders of carbon atoms or carbon fibers or any type or form of "nanotechnology" which contains remarkable strength and electrical properties used in any products, goods, or materials.  "Nanotechnology" is defined as "engineering at a molecular or atomic level." 

Both definitions are vague. For example, a hollow carbon fiber fishing rod that makes no claim to contain nanoscale materials would still technically be included in the definition of 'nanotubes" because it is a hollow cylinder made of carbon atoms. Similarly, attempting to entirely exclude "nanotechnology" is unworkable because it is really just science on an extremely small scale.

Rather than excluding all "nanotechnology," Continental more likely meant to exclude all nanoscale materials. Even then, such a blanket exclusion would be extremely broad because many nanoscale materials have not been shown to pose any environmental, health, or safety risks. Further, even within the category of carbon nanotubes, recent researchers' warnings about potential EHS risks have been largely confined to long, thin, needle-like carbon nanotubes, while excluding other varieties.

Stay tuned.  We will attempt to find out what happened to Continental's documents and will continue to monitor nano-related insurance coverage issues.
 

Podcast: Nanotechnology Risk Management

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.

Continue Reading...

Lloyd's of London & Nano

No, I'm not talking about the insurance policy that you may need for buying that big holiday gift.  Rather, I'm talking about the conference that Lloyd's of London has scheduled to discuss nanotechnology risks in the context of insurance.

Continue Reading...

Insurance Expert Addresses Nanotechnology

The insurance industry makes a great effort to research and identify potential liability trends. In a recent Orlando Sentinel article, a commercial insurance expert expressed concern that the explosive growth of nanotechnology could have unintended health consequences, and if it proves harmful, “lawsuits will fly.” Frank Coyne -- CEO of Insurance Services Office Inc. -- addressed this issue as part of his recent presentation at the ISO Tech 2006 conference in Kissimmee, Florida.