Insurers Try to Keep Up with the New Economy Through Novel Products
By: Pamela Sebastian Ridge The Wall Street Journal, Page A1 September 7, 2000 Swiss Re New Markets, a part of Swiss Reinsurance Co., Zurich, teams up with M·CAM, Inc., Charlottesville, Va., a firm that analyzes the value of intellectual property, on a niche insurance product for banks and other lenders. They hope to encourage banks to consider intangible assets, such as intellectual property, as collateral for loans. M·CAM appraises a firm's intellectual property and together with Swiss Re insures that amount. In the event of a loan default, the bank would get the insurance payout. Separately, insurance broker Marsh, a unit of Marsh & McLennan Cos., New York, develops a performance bond to protect people doing business on the Web. The product is similar to a bond carried by a contractor to guarantee work is done. The idea, says Marsh, is to bring a higher level of comfort to people who do business on the Web but never actually meet. As electronic businesses mature, look for more niche products, says the Insurance Information Institute, New York.