Insuring nanotech requires effective risk communication

The absence of nanotechnology-specific insurance policies could be detrimental to the development of the nanotechnology industry. Better communication between insurers and scientists is an essential step to provide a regulatory framework protecting both producers and consumers.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Chatterjee, R. Environ. Sci. Technol. 43, 1240–1241 (2009).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Monica, J. First nano-specific insurance: Lexington Insurance Company introduces LexNanoShield. Technology Law Source (31 March 2010).

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Contractors Professional Protective and Pollution Policy (Aspen Insurance,);

  4. 4

    Directive 2004/35/EC (European Commission, 2004).

  5. 5

    Scott-Fordsmand, J. J. et al. Today 9, 546–549 (2014).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Hett, A. Nanotechnology: Small Matter, Many Unknowns (Swiss Re, 2004).

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Baxter, D. Nanotechnology: An Insurer's Perspective (Lloyd's of London, 2008).

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Maynard, T. & Baxter, D. Nanotechnology: Recent Development, Risks and Opportunities (Lloyd's, 2007).

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Pawlowski, D. M. Fitch publishes asbestos liability dashboard. Fitch Ratings (16 June 2016).

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Muller, J. et al. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 207, 221–231 (2005).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Meier, B. Johnson & Johnson in deal to settle hip implant lawsuits. The New York Times (19 November 2013).

  12. 12

    Voreacos, D. & Feeley, J. Stryker to pay more than $1 billion for recalled devices. Bloomberg News (3 November 2014).

  13. 13

    Gill, H. S., Grammatopoulos, G., Adshead, S., Tsialogiannis, E. & Tsiridis, E. Trends Mol. Med. 18, 145–155 (2012).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Boverhof, D. R. et al. Regul. Toxicol. Pharmacol. 73, 137–150 (2015).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Mullins, M., Murphy, F., Baublyte, L., McAlea, E. M. & Tofail, S. A. Nat. Nanotechnol. 8, 222–224 (2013).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Nanotechnologies: Occupational Risk Management Applied to Engineered Nanomaterials: Part 2: Use of the Control Banding Approach (ISO, 2011).

  17. 17

    Swain, R. & Swallow, D. Bank of England Quart. Bull. 55, 139–152 (2015).

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Emerging Liability Risks: Harnessing Big Data Analytics. (Lloyd's and Praedicat, 2015).

Download references


The views of T.M. and A.G. incorporated into this Commentary are their own, and do not necessarily reflect those of their employers, or represent generally held views in the insurance industry. The research leading to this Commentary has received funding from the European Community's Horizon 2020 Programme under grant agreement no. 720851, PROTECT (

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Finbarr Murphy.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Murphy, F., Mullins, M., Hester, K. et al. Insuring nanotech requires effective risk communication. Nature Nanotech 12, 717–719 (2017).

Download citation

Further reading


Quick links

Find nanotechnology articles, nanomaterial data and patents all in one place. Visit Nano by Nature Research