The end of a year is a wonderful excuse for an editor to do some crystal ball gazing into what might happen in the next year and beyond
The end of a year is a wonderful excuse for an editor to do some crystal ball gazing into what might happen in the next year and beyond. This issue already provides some information on what the European Commission has in store in its 2008 work programme and what risk managers and reinsurers see as the emerging risks. Let’s expand on this.
Interestingly, the EC work programme – at least as far as I can see – does not mention further paving the way for class actions. But the formidable Neelie Kroes, EU competition commissioner and voluble defender of consumer rights, has stated that this is on her agenda, so we can expect some proposed or actual regulation. Good news for those US lawyers who have already moved into Europe, gearing up for an anticipated raft of claims – bad news, probably, for risk managers and their organisations.
Moving into darker and deeper waters, some so-called emerging risks are going to become an actuality, if not in 2008 then certainly within the next few years. After the failure of some well documented cases in the US against fast food suppliers and of discrimination claims against employers, the issue of obesity and liability claims seems to have receded. I predict that this will come to the fore in Europe fairly soon and could gather pace. Risk managers of organisations with works canteens serving up less than healthy food could come into the firing line, as well as fast food companies.
“The end of a year is a wonderful excuse for an editor to do some crystal ball gazing into what might happen in the next year and beyond
Many major issues don’t start with a bang but a whisper. I’m old enough (well almost) to remember the time when suggestions that smoking tobacco products might be bad for you were first mooted. Now it’s fact. Similarly, it’s only recently been accepted that global warming exists and that, among other things, companies’ emissions are contributing.
With many significant potential issues starting fairly low key, electromagnetic fields (EMF) generated by mobile phones could be the next major problem area. This is not necessarily because the EMF level emitted by mobile phones is damaging but because as yet there have been too few scientific studies to prove or disprove it. Inevitably there are going to be claims. The high level of telecoms M&A activity means tracing original manufacturers could be hard, and the first port of call for claimants may be their employers. I hope I’m wrong on this one and that 2008 will be a great year for you.
Sue Copeman, Editor, StrategicRISK