Manufacturing and technology is an exciting and growing field. Many innovations can be found every day in the field across all sectors, including information technology, telecom, electronics manufacturing, and medical device manufacturing, to name a few.
And while new ideas, changes, and innovations are exciting and good for the industry overall, they also create new risks, and different insurance needs to be addressed. Reviewing your insurance coverage with your agent often is important, especially as your business grows, expands, and changes course.
Read on to learn five things to know about the growing field of manufacturing and technology, then reach out to the experts at Meslee Insurance for more information.
What to Know About the Growing Field of Manufacturing and Technology Insurance
Here are five things you should know about the current state of the growing field of manufacturing and technology:
Remote Work Will Continue
The expansion of remote work in the manufacturing and technology field will continue. 2020 has caused us all to work differently, including jobs in the manufacturing and technology sectors. The resilience of the manufacturing and technology field has been impressive as new ways to work and keep people safe were found.
With employees working differently, whether remotely from home or in small pods, distanced from others, collaborating and working together to achieve goals looks different. This trend is expected to continue.
Cobots Are Growing in Popularity
Collaborative robots working alongside workers to collectively complete tasks will continue to increase in popularity. People and machines working hand-in-hand create new risks for employee safety and product liability. Cobots can be put to work finishing products or doing jobs that require accuracy and finesse. They can package, pick and place, or do process tasks and quality inspections.
Workplace Safety is a Top Trend
Workplace safety will continue to be a top trend for manufacturing and technology firms. Following the pandemic, safety and hygiene measures are still a priority and are top of mind for employees and employers alike.
New designs and ideas to protect people are essential. For example, 3D printing is rising in use and application, allowing people to do things faster and more safely, but it also brings new risks when using the technology. 3D printing is expected to continue to grow over the next several years.
IoT Remains Top of Mind
Consumers continue to demand more IoT-enabled devices as smart homes dominate the real estate industry. Connected technology makes our lives easier and more efficient, so it is no surprise this type of innovation continues to be in demand worldwide.
But technology embedded in devices to make life easier also brings new risks along with these rewards. Manufacturing, designing, and distributing smart home technology and other IoT-enabled devices is a growing trend among manufacturers and technology firms.
Look for New Ways to do Business
Manufacturing and technology companies are finding new ways to do business. In addition to remote workforces, many companies had to shift to find new suppliers following pandemic-related global supply chain issues.
This need to diversify vendors and suppliers continues as the world recovers from economic changes following COVID-19. We will likely see supply chain challenges for many months as the world recovers. Many innovations and changes developed through the pandemic will likely stay permanently, even as business returns to normal.
Insurance Risks Introduced by Growing Field of Manufacturing and Technology
With the changes and expansions seen in manufacturing and technology come new risks and hazards. Some risks are expanded and look different than in the past, and some hazards are new risks we have not encountered before.
Increased Cybersecurity Risks
Having a remote workforce leads to new and different risks, such as increased cybersecurity risks. Employees working at home have differing levels of security with their home networks, VPNs, and other devices they may be using.
Workers are also vulnerable to phishing attacks they may not have fallen for in the office. Some employees share at-home office space with a working spouse, college-aged adults, and young children in virtual school – all adding to cybersecurity challenges for businesses. Having coverage in place to manage cyber risk is critical.
If you already have some cyber coverage, review it with your agent to ensure it still covers your expanded risks with a remote workforce and the new risks.
Worker’s Compensation Risks
Working differently can lead to new Workers’ Compensation risks not seen before in your previous business model. People are working in new ways, whether from home or remote locations or in limited teams; work is being done differently, leading to new risks.
If your business shifted during the pandemic to manufacturing new products, your Workers’ Compensation rating might also have changed. It is vital to be sure your training and safety programs have been updated along with the changes to your working conditions.
How are you keeping employees safe at home or with new technology to do their jobs? Along with your safety review, a policy review with your agent is vital.
Product Liability Risk
Newly introduced technology leads to product liability risk. Manufacturing new products and using new technology can create different risks that your product liability coverage needs to include.
Review your policy whenever you switch gears to making a new product. You want to be certain new innovations are addressed in your policy as you add them, so you do not have any gaps in your insurance coverage.
COVID-19 and Other Safety Measures
Manufacturing and technology companies who introduced new safety measures for COVID-19 or other pandemics could face the risk of their technology failing to protect people.
Employees depend on their employers to keep them safe as they return to in-person operations, and they expect protective measures to work. However, safety measures designed to keep people safe can fail, and employees could turn to their employer for damages.
Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) coverage can help protect businesses from employee lawsuits, which have been on the rise of late.
Supply Chain Risk
Supply chain risk increased in 2020 with pandemic-related restrictions on shipping and travel. Vendors suffered shutdowns of their own, leaving them unable to meet demand. We are experiencing shortages of many different products, from processing chips to pet food to bacon. Business interruption coverage is important if your business suffers a loss from being unable to obtain needed supplies to manufacture your product.
Shifts in Suppliers and Products
Over the last year, many manufacturers pivoted to making and distributing pandemic supplies, like face masks and hand sanitizers. These shifts in supplier and product created new risks not faced previously by these manufacturers. Be sure to talk with your agent about new products and customers you are serving – this helps ensure your insurance coverage is adequate for these new risks.
It continues to be an exciting time for manufacturing and technology as changes happen quickly, both in the industry and worldwide. Keeping up with changing needs and adapting to new situations will continue to be critical for this industry.
New innovations born from pandemic needs change the way we work and do business across every sector. Manufacturing and technology can lead the way with innovations by being nimble and making smart changes to processes.
Working with your agent every step of the way to ensure your business remains protected as your insurance needs and risks change is important.
To learn more about insuring the growing field of manufacturing and technology, contact the experts at Meslee Insurance. Our licensed professionals will be happy to answer any questions you have.