One Insurer Excludes Nanotechnology from Policies

Christine Peterson passes along this item from a recent (September 25, 2008) NanoBusiness Alliance Newsletter:

Insurer Excludes Nanotechnology from Policies

Beginning November 15, the Continental Western Insurance Group will no longer insure against bodily injury, property damage, or personal and advertising injury related to the actual, alleged, or threatened presence of or exposure to nanotubes or nanotechnology in any form.

We believe the decision to exclude “nanotubes and nanotechnology” was not well thought out. Treating nanotechnology as if it is monolithic makes no sense. A technology itself does not have risks and benefits — only the embodiments of the technology in the form of products do. Furthermore, the definitions were sufficiently broad that almost any business to be subject to the exclusion. This is the first exclusion. We hope that it will be reconsidered or pulled back altogether once the insurer understands the implications of the general purpose exclusion they created. But, we must also educate insurers so that they do not make ill informed policy like this in the future.

The insurance group cited the “as of yet, unknown and unknowable risks” created by nanotubes and nanotechnology in general, and pointed to recent reports of health risks raising concerns about similarities between certain types of multiwalled carbon nanotubes and asbestos fibers. Continental Western is believed to be the first insurer to exclude nanotubes and nanotechnology from its insurance policies.


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