New York - Guy Carpenter & Company Inc., a global risk and reinsurance specialist and part of the Marsh & McLennan Cos. has published a report, titled, "Nanotechnology: The Plastics of the 21st Century?," which provides an overview of the emerging science, its potential benefits for the global economy, and associated risks and implications for the insurance industry.A team of technology, environmental and casualty specialty professionals from Guy Carpenter and Dr. Robert Blaunstein, national director of loss control and underwriting manager for American Safety Insurance Co., prepared the report.

Nanotechnology refers to the manipulation of molecules and atoms on a small scale to produce products that exhibit new and/or different properties. Many in the scientific community see nanotechnology as the most significant scientific breakthrough of the 21st century, with the potential to significantly improve existing products, drive innovation and influence people's everyday lives in a number of positive ways.

The National Science Foundation forecasts that $1 trillion in nanotechnology-enabled products will be on the market by 2015. More than $11 billion will be spent on nanotechnology research by corporations and governments this year, according to industry estimates, with a growing number of venture capital and Wall Street firms seeking to make nanotechnology-related investments.

"As with practically all scientific breakthroughs, nanotechnology carries both risks and potential rewards," says Andrew Marcell, managing director and global head of Guy Carpenter's casualty specialty practice. "With nanotechnology risks currently spread over a wide variety of coverages--and the regulatory environment still in its infancy--there is now a great opportunity for insurers to work with governments to shape a regulatory framework that will foster nanotechnology's positive use while sensibly addressing its risks."

In addition to providing an overview of the science of nanotechnology and its potential applications, the report addresses:

* Nanotechnology's potential long term benefits to the global economy, across the manufacturing, environmental, medical and information technology industries.

* Health, safety and environmental risks associated with nanotechnology.

* The regulatory environment and the likely evolution of nanotechnology insurance coverage.

A copy of the full report, "Nanotechnology: The Plastics of the 21st Century?," is available for download at

Source: Guy Carpenter & Company Inc.

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