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XL Catlin’s Emerging Risk Task Force actively monitors a wide array of emerging risks to provide our underwriters, as well as clients, with pertinent information regarding new and existing emerging risks. This quarterly bulletin provides key highlights and developments for the emerging risks that have recently generated notable activity and media attention. Blockchain: The future of transactions?

  • Blockchain is a decentralized secure ledger or database that stores and tracks information from multiple parties. More simply put, it is a database in the cloud across entities with real-time recognition.
  • Originally developed as the technology underlying Bitcoin transactions, this potentially ‘disruptive technology’ is generating interest across several industries and applications, including financial institutions, public sectors / governments, real estate, intellectual property and fraud prevention.
  • This emerging technology is touted as providing increased transparency, automation and reliability in the collection and management of data for key business transactions.
  • Blockchain creates a permanent record of each transaction – i.e. one version of the truth that can only be changed by mutual consensus of all involved – and allows authorized parties access to that information in a ‘public’ platform. This technology does not require an intermediary to validate information between parties as each transaction is transparent.
  • As with any new technology, potential risks need to be considered, including cyber security, those posed by lack of regulation and privacy concerns.

Explore Blockchain capabilities on Fast Fast Forward

Terrorism: Domestic and homegrown concerns

  • Terrorism trends show a shift in the nature of attacks – increasingly attacks are occurring at random, perpetrated by ‘lone wolf attackers’ in locations considered "soft targets" and resulting in significant loss of life and business interruption.
  • Many recent attacks in the US have not met the $5M in damages to be certified under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (TRIPRA), creating some uncertainty in coverage for insurance contracts that cite a terrorist attack must be US government certified for coverage to apply.
  • Organizations should explore how their policies would apply to terrorist events that are / are not certified under TRIPRA or other governmental terror pools.
  • Organizations may be increasingly exposed to business interruption and indirect losses from terrorism, as opposed to significant property losses as in the past.
  • Standalone terrorism policies, such as offered by XL Catlin, will often cover the gap where a broader definition of terrorist attack is required. Active assailant insurance could also help mitigate financial and reputational risks.

Learn more on managing this evolving threat



Even if a ransom is paid, risks may loom.

Brexit: The referendum was just the start

  • The U.K. Prime Minister, Theresa May, has declared March 2017 as the latest date for starting the formal process of exiting the European Union. Once the process begins, the negotiations will take at least two years.
  • Aside from a weaker pound, the U.K. economy and financial markets have not suffered much from the prospect of Brexit. However, there is a likelihood that the Brexit negotiations may be acrimonious with Prime Minister May willing to give up access to the European single market (a "hard Brexit") and the EU wanting to set the precedent that there will be a high cost of exit.
  • A "hard Brexit" may hurt the U.K. economy, for which the EU is its biggest trading partner, and the U.K. may no longer be a viable location for businesses operating in the EU. With neither side looking to compromise, it could be possible that UK businesses might face years of uncertainty and headwinds to economic growth.
  • There are concerns about the possibility that Brexit is merely the first step in a breakup of the EU and the common currency. A breakup would be expected to have severe global economic and financial market impacts and raise a host of complications regarding trade and even the consequences if the Euro ceases to exist. At a minimum, Europe could be an uncertain place to live and do business for many years.

Ransomware: A new kind of hostage situation

  • In recent months, incidents of ransomware have increased in frequency and sophistication, becoming a major cybersecurity threat for organizations, typically targeting smaller companies, although government agencies, hospitals, law enforcement and private institutions are not immune.
  • Ransomware is a type of computer virus or malware that prevents users from accessing files and data on their computer, threatening permanent encryption or deletion of the data if a ransom, typically made in bitcoin, is not paid.
  • Even if a ransom is paid, risks may loom. Those affected need to be concerned with notification requirements, or potential lawsuits, if PII/Personal Data is compromised, as well as network integrity as malware may linger on computers if proper action, is not taken.

Find out more about your best defense against Ransomware

Drones: Keeping an eye in the sky

  • Drones — also known as unmanned aerial vehicles — are an evolving technology whose commercial uses are expected to develop further as regulatory frameworks expand their scope.
  • With the increased utilization of drones, drone operators may consider purchasing insurance that would indemnify them for risks such as property damage / bodily injury liability (i.e. trespass, nuisance and privacy violation). Drones may also be exposed to potential cyber risk.
  • Drones regulations continue to develop around the world. Most recently, after an extended period of regulatory uncertainty, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released its final operational regulations allowing commercial drones flights across all industries, effective August 2016.
  • Updated U.S. guidelines are expected to significantly reduce the barriers to entry for companies looking to use drones in their operation, and unlock drone potential across several applications such as construction management, mapping/ survey, filming/advertising, pipeline/power line patrol, search and rescue and law enforcement, among others.

Read more on drones








Join the conversation! Read more about  these and other emerging risks at XL Catlin’s  Fast Fast Forward


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Global Asset Protection Services, LLC, and its affiliates (“AXA XL Risk Consulting”) provides risk assessment reports and other loss prevention services, as requested. This document shall not be construed as indicating the existence or availability under any policy of coverage for any particular type of loss or damage. AXA XL Risk. We specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that compliance with any advice or recommendation in any publication will make a facility or operation safe or healthful, or put it in compliance with any standard, code, law, rule or regulation. Save where expressly agreed in writing, AXA XL Risk Consulting and its related and affiliated companies disclaim all liability for loss or damage suffered by any party arising out of or in connection with this publication, including indirect or consequential loss or damage, howsoever arising. Any party who chooses to rely in any way on the contents of this document does so at their own risk.

US- and Canada-Issued Insurance Policies

In the US, the AXA XL insurance companies are: AXA Insurance Company, Catlin Insurance Company, Inc., Greenwich Insurance Company, Indian Harbor Insurance Company, XL Insurance America, Inc., XL Specialty Insurance Company and T.H.E. Insurance Company. In Canada, coverages are underwritten by XL Specialty Insurance Company - Canadian Branch and AXA Insurance Company - Canadian branch. Coverages may also be underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003. Coverages underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003 are placed on behalf of the member of Syndicate #2003 by Catlin Canada Inc. Lloyd’s ratings are independent of AXA XL.
US domiciled insurance policies can be written by the following AXA XL surplus lines insurers: XL Catlin Insurance Company UK Limited, Syndicates managed by Catlin Underwriting Agencies Limited and Indian Harbor Insurance Company. Enquires from US residents should be directed to a local insurance agent or broker permitted to write business in the relevant state.