A Day in the Life of a Nanotech Company
When Lance Criscuolo, President of Zyvex Technologies, offered to give me a tour of his company’s Columbus, Ohio, nanotechnology research facility, I jumped at the chance. Insurers are learning more about nanomaterials that are in every day use. Yet, still so little is known about the technology when compared to the other risks in our portfolios.
Many carriers may not even know they are writing a nanotech company or one that handles nanomaterials. Meanwhile, the potential health impacts of exposure to nanomaterials and the implications for Workers’ Compensation and General Liability insurance are not at all clear.
Zyvex has developed a broad product portfolio of nano-enhanced products ranging from defense applications to sports equipment. It was one of 14 facilities inspected by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and tested for compliance with nanomaterial requirements. Zyvex received a favorable report from them.
By viewing a day in the life of this nanotech company, I could see the regular practices that could help contain or add to insured risks. In fact, I came away with something like a rudimentary risk management or underwriting checklist of issues that can be discussed with insureds who use nanomaterials.
Materials handling, employee protection and disposal are familiar enough issues but they take on added significance with nanotech. For example, do all companies treat nanomaterials as hazardous materials, in accordance with NIOSH best practices?
Insurance carriers would do well to read up on current thinking around ”nano-safety.” (A good place to start is a report entitled, “Filling the Knowledge Gaps for Safe Nanotechnology in the Workplace” from the NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Center.) Nanotechnology is sometimes referred to as the next industrial revolution and it will probably deliver countless societal benefits. But there are also serious potential risks that need to be reflected in policy language, pricing and underwriting guidelines.
Read our latest publication to find out more on Nanotechnology.