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MILAN, Italy-Conrad D'Esopo, president of Arkwright Technical Services Inc. in Waltham, Mass., explained how Arkwright is keeping up with change in industrial technology.

He outlined a new approach Arkwright is taking toward risk evaluation and risk-based engineering at the insurer's symposium in Milan, Italy, last month.

Arkwright is using the approach because traditional methods of evaluating risks in fire and extended coverage, and boiler and machinery coverage, "although they have served the insurance community well over the past years, have not kept pace with technology changes that are occurring in a number of industries."

He explained: "This approach is based on failure modes that are analyzed and correlated to a resultant fire or controlling the event of loss. The results are conveyed in the form of a need to take a corrective action or have a system in place that will contain damage."

The rapid rate of change in industry has made it difficult for insurers to keep up, said Mr.

D'Esopo, citing the effects of technological developments on the engineering, design, construction and operation of facilities.

The new approach, which was tested successfully in the semiconductor industry using San Jose, Calif.-based consulting firm Black & Veatch's experience in that area, works on four principles:

Build a knowledge base of the way the plant's systems interact.

Define the relationships between the systems, a so-called "interdependency matrix."

Develop a set of risk evaluations that address the effects of failure.

Provide a new basis against which risk is measured for risk evaluations and risk-based engineering.

Joseph Mattrey, manager of the process and chemical engineering department at Black & Veatch, also spoke at the session.