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Uninsurable risk project launched at the DVS


[MUNICH, Germany]—An insurance-backed research association has unveiled an industry wide project to tackle uninsured risks.

With the working title of "Insuring the uninsured," The Geneva Association is seeking input from all sides of the insurance industry as it prepares a preliminary report to be released early next year.

"The aim is to start working with the industry-insurers, brokers, but also clients, regulators and other interested stakeholders—to try to see if we can have marketplaces that allow for better and more efficient risk transfer," said Patrick Liedtke, secretary general and managing director of the association, which researches risk and insurance economics.

While the Geneva Association is supported by the chief executive officers of the 80 most prominent insurers, Mr. Liedtke said the institution has "no interest or mandate to lobby for specific positions." The basic premise of the study is to identify risks that are not being transferred that perhaps could be, and then find ways that some of these risks could be made insurable, Mr. Liedtke said. The concept was presented at a symposium in Munich of the German commercial association, the Bonn-based DeutscherVersicherungs-Schutzverband.

"It is not the aim of this project to try to make all risks in the whole world insurable," said Tileman Fischer, head of the research project and former chief executive officer of Allianz Reinsurance Asia Pacific.

Rather, he said, the goal is to see whether the traditional distinctions between insurable and uninsurable risks are still valid or "have a number of previously uninsurable risks become insurable, or vice versa."

Risks from biotechnology and computer based risks to entrepreneurial risks such as brand damage are among the areas where there could be the possibility of at least partial coverage, Mr. Fischer said.

Reaction to the study has been "extremely encouraging" noted Mr. Liedtke, which also was the case at the DVS symposium.

Harry A. Daugird, a DVS executive committee member and president of Komposit Risk Consultants & Insurance Brokers Ltd. in Ladenburg, Germany—a unit of ABB Group, said the Geneva Association's initiative "needs to be praised."

"However, we have to wait and see if this can be transferred into real action," said Mr. Daugird, who moderated the symposium session on the topic. "It is certainly a move in the right direction, but I am not sure that this will produce any material results."