Hopefully, all they will ever kill are a few quiet moments here and there. But know that the next big risk which reinsurers are trying to lay off on catastrophe bond managers is – at this very moment – nestled in your pocket or handbag and soon to be planted by your ear.

Joining the natural disasters close to the hearts of cat-bond managers could soon be an array of familiar names: Blackberry, Nokia, Vodafone and (please, not this one too!) the enamoured iPhone. Yup. The jokes and dismissed speculation might turn out to be true: mobile phones could be the cigarettes of our time, quietly riddling none-the-wiser consumers with awful health defects.

Marcel Grandi, portfolio manager and structurer with Zurich’s insurancelinked strategies (ILS) team, let the mobile companys’ ugly secret out at a briefing last month. Asked about new risks that reinsurers were looking to share with ILS managers, Grandi said most of the offerings coming down the pipeline were derived from products – or, in risk terms, “on the liability side”. “Like what happens with mobile phones and health defects.

Companies like Nokia, Vodafone—” Grandi managed, before being politely cut off by a colleague who stressed the manager’s preference for “severe-impact, lowfrequency” hazards. Like earthquakes, hurricanes and crop failures – not the radiation-fed tumours that could be slowly mushrooming inside our craniums. Unbalanced welcomes your comments on this – but for Pete’s sake, email them to us please.

 

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