Operational Risks and COVID-19 – Emerging Risk Report: Issue 86
March 30, 2020
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
April 8, 2020

Protecting your research in Controlled Environments (CEs)

Shot of a young scientist using a digital tablet while working in a laboratory

Controlled environments represent the most common cause of claims. And although research is notoriously complex to value, when it is incorrectly or significantly undervalued, it can have major knock on effects if it comes to a claim. This article contains information to help you understand recent changes to protection, the importance of maintaining inventories and introduces the guideline for the valuation of controlled environment contents.

The frequency of spoilage claims has featured prominently in the loss experience of both Members and the Mutual over the past 10 years. Disturbingly, the quantum of losses has increased over recent years and their nature and scope has expanded to include research kept in a broader range of controlled environments (CEs) such as laboratories, aquaria, glasshouses and animal houses. These losses not only cause financial pain but also great frustration and heartache.

We have consoled researchers who have seen years of their life’s work lost due to a freezer door left open or a power cut. We have witnessed people having to beg their funding body for extensions. We have seen PhD students unable to complete their degree as their thesis can’t be submitted due to unfinished research.

Our claims experience tells us that research losses occur due to a range of causes; the most common being equipment failure, third party negligence, power disruptions and human error – have you mitigated against all these risks?

Unimutual and its Members have a strong joint interest in preventing research losses. Increased claims create pressure on the retained claims layer for Unimutual and ultimately on the Cross-Class Aggregate reinsurers that protect the Mutual against accumulated losses. Our insurance and reinsurance partners are placing more focus on research protection and, in order to manage the cost to Members, it became necessary to update the protection wording regarding research. We must remain committed to risk mitigation efforts in order to continue enjoying the benefits of research loss protection.

So, what are the changes and what do they mean for you?

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