“Good things come in small packages,” is a comment we often hear around Christmas time. For those in the burgeoning field of nanotechnology, though, the maxim has year-round relevance. We define nanotechnology as the building of substances and structures so tiny as to be essentially invisible. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter. By comparison, a human hair is 80,000 nanometers wide. Nanotechnology involves fabricating nanomaterials and forging them into useful products. At this level, however, material properties change and can spawn unintended side effects.

A scarcity of empirical data — especially regarding losses — hampers nanotechnology-related risk dialogue. Nanotechnology is a growing niche, so there is little litigation or loss history to analyze. Thus, much of the discussion of nanotechnology and its management flows from hypothetical examples.

Less murky is the fact that nanotechnology is not a passing fad. It has innovative applications for a range of technologies and sectors, including drug delivery, medical imaging, integrated sensors, and semiconductors. Many believe that nanotechnology can enhance treatment and detection of diseases like AIDS and cancer. Some estimate that, by 2014, nanotechnology will command a global market value of $2.6 trillion and provide jobs for one million employees in the U.S. alone.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free
PropertyCasualty360 Digital Reader.


  • All PropertyCasualty360.com news coverage, best practices, and in-depth analysis.
  • Educational webcasts, resources from industry leaders, and informative newsletters.
  • Other award-winning websites including BenefitsPRO.com and ThinkAdvisor.com.

Already have an account?



Join PropertyCasualty360

Don’t miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed decisions for your P&C insurance business. Join PropertyCasualty360.com now!

  • Unlimited access to PropertyCasualty360.com - your roadmap to thriving in a disrupted environment
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including BenefitsPRO.com, ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
  • Exclusive discounts on PropertyCasualty360, National Underwriter, Claims and ALM events

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join PropertyCasualty360

Copyright © 2023 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.