April 26th, 2016

Emerging Risks: New Product Development

Posted at 1:00 AM ET

Here we review recent GC Capital Ideas posts on new product development as an emerging risk.

New Technologies, New Liability Risks and Emerging Product Exposure: Risk is a major barrier to innovation. Taking a risk, however, is almost always the first step in any type of progress. The productivity of the global economy depends on companies that are willing to find new and better ways of doing things despite the potential perils involved. If they start to be ruled by fear of liability, our global development could be in jeopardy. By helping businesses manage the risks associated with product development, (re)insurers play an important role in stimulating innovation and helping our world move forward in positive ways. From the early days of marine exploration, to the first satellite launch, to the development of state-of-the-art technologies, (re)insurers have provided a critical safety net that has supported and encouraged the creative process.

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Nanotechnology: The Plastics of the 21st Century: Many scientists view nanotechnology as the revolutionary technology of the 21st century. Just as plastics were a pervasive and revolutionary product of the 20th century, nanotechnology products are having widespread use and change our lives in a myriad of ways. This technology has quickly evolved into a global force that is transforming manufacturing, medicine and an ever increasing number of consumer/food goods. The field has become a worldwide market worth an estimated USD 1 trillion and is projected to grow at a rate of 16.5 percent through 2020.

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Tracking and Modeling New Integrated, Intricate Technology Risks: Casualty (re)insurers do not cover standalone emerging risks. A product defect (with recall) or a latent bodily injury resulting from new technological nano-products or Unmanned Aerial Systems risks, could lead to class action lawsuits and ultimately large liability claims including products liability as well as professional liability. This emergent reality, however, is difficult to address. A carrier would need to identify and model several possible epicenters of a liability chain reaction and follow their rapidly spreading implications throughout a portfolio. Without new powerful casualty modeling capabilities as well as highly granular data on the products and subcomponents that each of their insureds manufacture and sell globally, this process would be time-consuming, impossible to complete and likely to miss key threats and underlying exposures.

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