Panama Canal development increases risk
It was 100 years ago that the Panama Canal was opened, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and creating a vital route for maritime trade. As a centenary birthday gift, the canal is set to gain an extra transit lane allowing bigger ships to pass through. While this will be a boost to trade it creates a bigger risk as the value of insured goods will escalate by an estimated $1 billion a day. A report from Allianz
titled Panama Canal 100: Shipping Safety and Future Risks
says that the increased cargo and vessel size will challenge the safety record of the canal, which has improved in the last the years. In the event of an accident there is an increased risk of supply chain disruption with a salvage operation taking far longer than a standard vessel. That’s assuming there are enough specialised experts available to handle the new class of ships; the report suggests there are not. Further risks are highlighted including additional traffic at US ports, hurricane and other environmental risks plus of course the actual handling of the larger vessels.
Android vulnerability reinforces need for BYOD policy
Allowing staff to use their own laptops, tablets and smartphones may seem like a good idea. After all they are familiar with them and the business doesn’t have to pay for them, insure them or maintain them. While the upside may be largely financial, the downside is the risk. A recent identification of a weakness is the Android operating system, used on the majority of non-Apple smartphones and tablets, highlights how allowing staff to ‘bring your own devices’ could create a weakness in a business’ network. The issue is with malicious programs that can be disguised as apps on a user’s device without warning. When activated the malware can steal sensitive information and take control of the device. Consider credit card details, commercially sensitive information in emails or even access to networks among potential risks. While BYOD may seem to have financial and even operational benefits, it could be a false economy if it creates additional risk to the business. Read the full story.
Renewable energy sector insurance set to grow
The drive for greener energy is creating new opportunities for the insurance business to offer cover for this growing sector. Re-insurer Swiss Re is predicting that the investment in renewables will increase by 50 per cent in the next 6 years and this will drive up the spend on insurance and risk management; possibly even double it. As many of these green sources of energy are relatively new and untested over long periods, assessing the risk and underwriting are complex processes. Offshore wind farms for example are clearly open to risks that onshore energy sources are not; and handling an incident at an offshore site will involve more specialised teams; increasing costs of claims. As usual, the insurance industry will find the means to offer cover for these emerging technologies; if the predicted growth is accurate it would be foolish not to. Read the full story.
High risk business – literally
If you live or work in a tower you may have considered the risks whenever the window cleaners arrive on your floor in their cradle. It would be bad enough for it to break down, leaving the occupants stranded while help is summoned, but what if somehow one end dropped taking the horizontal enclosure almost vertical… scary stuff… and it happened recently. Two Austrian window cleaners were stuck 144 feet up a high rise building in Vienna and were forced to cling on to the cradle which was at a precarious angle. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Take a look at the photographs
and remember the scenario next time you think you’re having a bad day at work.