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Market unlikely to drive growth in CNBR cover: GAO


WASHINGTON--Any market-driven expansion of coverage for chemical, nuclear, biological and radiological risks is "highly unlikely," according to a report issued Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office.

The report--"Measuring and Predicting Losses from Unconventional Weapons is Difficult, but Some Industry Exposure Exists"--does not make any recommendations as how to deal with such risks. It calls insuring such risks as being "distinctly different from insuring other risks because of the potential for catastrophic losses, a lack of understanding or knowledge about the long-term consequences and a lack of historical experience with (such) attacks in the United States."

It adds, however, that although such risks "may not fully satisfy the principles of insurability," some insurers may refuse to offer coverage while others "may choose to offer coverage for some or all of the risks." The report points out, for example, that state laws require insurers to cover the peril in workers compensation policies.

"Representatives of workers compensation, life and health insurers expressed concerns that the prices they currently charge may not cover their potential exposures to (CNBR) risks, sometimes because of regulatory limitations, and generally because of difficulties in measuring and pricing for (CNBR) losses. Given the challenges faced by insurers in providing coverage for and pricing (CNBR) risks, any purely market-driven expansion of coverage is highly unlikely in the foreseeable future," said the report.

Insurers have long claimed that such risks are inherently uninsurable.

The full report can be accessed at It may be accessed later Tuesday at