InFocus: Commercial Risk Expertise

What the VW scandal should teach brokers

What the VW scandal should teach brokers

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In a single day after it was revealed that Volkswagen cheated on its clean diesel emissions tests, the German automaker lost almost a quarter of its global market value and seems to be facing irreparable damage to its global brand name and one of the largest recalls in history.
 
Although most companies do not typically engage in such subterfuge, almost every product and food manufacturer is at risk of a product recall or alert. For this reason, it is imperative that they remain prepared for any and every possible worst case scenario.
 
“The need for product recall coverage is really important, as it can help companies get back expenses relating to a recalled product and also communicating with consumers to reassure them about safety concerns,” said Kent Pitkin, national director, commercial lines, APRIL Canada.
 
Contrary to popular belief, manufacturers are not the only ones susceptible. Pitkin points to a recent case involving salmonella-infested cucumbers as proof that even the most innocuous-seeming products can face immense reputational harm as the result of a recall.
 
“Anything that a consumer uses has the potential to injure somebody and can be recalled,” Pitkin notes.
 
Moreover, the litigious environment in Canada has resulted in a growing number of watchdogs and consumer advocates on the lookout for potential harm from even the most common of household products.
 
“People are more sensitive and aware of legal action that can be taken, so I think from both the manufacturing of equipment and parts point of view, as well as food, this means that it’s more important than ever to have the right package of insurance to make sure they’re covered,” Pitkin said.
 
APRIL’s product stands out in particular because it not only offers expenses related to the recall itself, but business interruption and financial loss too – which can be the determining factor in the future viability of an organization.
 
 “One product recall could put companies out of business, not only from the financial expenses of the recall, but they could lose out on contracts or sales, and there’s always the cost of litigation,” said Pitkin. “All it takes is one faulty product.”

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