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“Liability would be less clear where processes are split, such as where one company produces a component for use in another’s product, or where one firm provides the design, another the 3D manufacturing, and another the distribution.”

have bought online – which will blur boundaries between manufacturer and end user, and raise questions about who is responsible if a product proves faulty. The boundaries between product designer and producer will also become less defined, which will require a review of the scope of professional indemnity covers. Architects, designers and engineers may wonder if their policies apply to computeraided design production. If designs become public and shared, intellectual property rights and cyber cover issues may also arise. “Although it will likely take a while until we see the implications of this new technology in the (re)insurance segment, Swiss Re works with clients to leverage their knowledge about 3D printing and collaborates in developing intelligent and appropriate 3D printing insurance solutions,” the reinsurer says in a paper on the subject. “It is important to closely monitor developments, and our risk experts are ready to work with clients and partners to identify and assess issues that may arise when underwriting 3D printing-related risks.” Insurance lawyers will have much to ponder as 3D printing threatens to upend the certainties of liability, intellectual property and copyright law. But we’ll have to make an educated guess on that, because three well-known insurance law firms contacted by Insurance News for this story either declined to comment or didn’t respond at all. A spokesman for Hall & Wilcox at least offered: “The firm is looking at 3D printing as an emerging issue.” Mike Cole, Managing Director of broker Modern Risk Solutions, compares 3D printing to the industrial revolution. He says its full impact has yet to be felt, which makes it an ideal time for the insurance industry – and its legal advisers – to gain a better understanding. “There are a lot of implications for the insurance industry to be wary of,” the Melbourne-based broker tells Insurance News.

Not as silly as it seems: a Chinese company recently used four 3D printers to print out 10 full-sized houses in a day. The printers are 10 metres wide and 6.6 metres high, and have sprays that use a combination of cement and construction waste to “print” walls

insuranceNEWS

August/September 2015

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Profile for Insurance News (the magazine)

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AUG/SEP 2015 - Insurance News (the magazine)  

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