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Daily Insurance Industry News
Tuesday 21st of November 2017
July 14, 2009

Lloyd’s assesses synthetic biology risks

by Gill Montia

Story link: Lloyd’s assesses synthetic biology risks

A new report from the emerging risk team at Lloyd’s is urging governments, insurers and other interested parties to work together to support the development of synthetic biology.

This branch of science can be said to “engineer life”, allowing the formation of organisms with genetic code not found in the natural world.

In simple terms, it differs from genetic modification, which the study describes as “cutting code from one working program and pasting it into another” because it involves “writing your code from scratch, or editing specific lines of existing code”.

The technology is still in its infancy and currently there is no consistent global view on the approach to regulation, in part because public opinion on the use of synthetic biology differs regionally.

The authors of the report highlight the risks involved, such as a rush to market, confusion over regulation and terrorism.

In terms of policy limits, the report states “insurers should consider the extent to which they wish to be exposed to such systemic risks”.

Adding: “The enormity of some adverse scenarios suggests the inclusion of various forms of sub-limit in the future.”

 

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