GENET archive


6-Regulation: U.S. risk management company calls for GMO liability regulation

                                  PART I
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TITLE:  Genetically Engineered Anxiety
DATE:   17 Aug 2005

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Genetically Engineered Anxiety
Aon Expert says Regulation Needed to Offset Concerns about Designer Crops
Contaminating Crops Grown for Food

CHICAGO, August 17, 2005 - Environmentalists, farmers and biotechnology
companies are at the center of a debate about the threat genetic crop
research may pose to traditional agriculture.

Some biotech companies, under constant pressure to develop new drugs,
increasingly view genetically engineered crops as a less-expensive
alternative to cultivating ingredients necessary for drug making. Gene-
altered rice, for example, is ideal for cultivating human proteins, which
are necessary to create some new medicines. At the same time, many
farmers could use the more stable income the gene-altered acreage could
generate to offset shrinking farm profit margins.

Consumer and environmental advocates worry that pollen from genetically
engineered plants could drift into fields containing food crops and
produce contaminated hybrids. Rick Shanks, senior vice president with
Aon's Agribusiness and Food Systems Group, says there have already been
incidents of contamination. "Recently, after a crop of genetically
engineered corn was harvested, stray seeds from the genetically altered
crop grew in the same field the following year and was mixed in with
crops designated for humans. The crop had to be destroyed," he said. "The
only way to ensure that doesn't happen is to place tight restrictions on
where genetically engineered crop can be planted."

"The regulatory framework is not in place to enforce such restrictions,"
says Jim Walters, managing director of Aon's Pharmaceutical and Chemical
practice group. "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would have to become actively
involved in regulating this activity," he says, "and they're a long ways
from doing that."

Walters sees both sides of the debate, but says, "The biotech industry
needs innovation. Concerns about liability risk are stifling creative
approaches to drug manufacture. Anxieties produced by this debate could
have a chilling effect on research and development, making the necessary
insurance liability coverage harder to come by."

Shanks, representing Aon as the only broker to sit on the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce's Food and Biotechnology Committee, says that while there are no
immediate plans to bring this debate to the Committee as a formal agenda
item, he says, "we're watching the issue."

Aon's Agribusiness and Food System Group, based in Kansas City, works
with businesses involved in the production, processing and distribution
of food. About one-third of Aon Agribusiness and Food System Group's
business in the sector is agriculture, and two-thirds is food-related.

Aon Corporation ( is a leading provider of risk management
services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, human capital and
management consulting, and specialty insurance underwriting. There are
47,000 employees working in Aon's 500 offices in more than 120 countries.
Backed by broad resources, industry knowledge and technical expertise,
Aon professionals help a wide range of clients develop effective risk
management and workforce productivity solutions.

For more information, contact: Thaddeus Woosley, Aon Corporation,

Editor's Note:
On August 18, 2005, Aon, in cooperation with the US Department of
Homeland Security and the University of California's Western Institute
for Food Safety & Security, is sponsoring the 2005 AgroTerrorism Assembly
on August 18, 2005 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Sacramento, California.
The Assembly is designed to inform community leaders (government and
business), food industry leaders, emergency responders (local, state and
federal) -- of the risks and vulnerabilities of agroterrorism and other
food-related disasters.

This press release contains certain statements related to future results,
or states our intentions, beliefs and expectations or predictions for the
future which are forward-looking statements as that term is defined in
the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-
looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that
could cause actual results to differ materially from either historical or
anticipated results depending on a variety of factors. Potential factors
that could impact results include: general economic conditions in
different countries in which we do business around the world, changes in
global equity and fixed income markets that could affect the return on
invested assets, fluctuations in exchange and interest rates that could
influence revenue and expense, rating agency actions that could affect
our ability to borrow funds, funding of our various pension plans,
changes in the competitive environment, our ability to implement
restructuring initiatives and other initiatives intended to yield cost
savings, changes in commercial property and casualty markets and
commercial premium rates that could impact revenues, changes in revenues
and earnings due to the elimination of contingent commissions, other
uncertainties surrounding a new compensation model, the impact of
investigations brought by state attorneys general, state insurance
regulators, federal prosecutors, and federal regulators, the impact of
class actions and individual lawsuits including client class actions,
securities class actions, derivative actions, and ERISA class actions,
the cost of resolution of other contingent liabilities and loss
contingencies, and the difference in ultimate paid claims in our
underwriting companies from actuarial estimates. Further information
concerning the Company and its business, including factors that
potentially could materially affect the Company's financial results, is
contained in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Agribusiness and Food System Risk Group
DATE:   2005

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Agribusiness and Food System Risk Group

Whether you are an agribusiness, processor, distributor or food service
enterprise, your success depends on identifying, understanding and
overcoming risk.

This industry is in the midst of significant change, stemming from shifts
in regulations and the impact of globalization. The new world of risks
you face includes:
- food safety and security
- supply chain disruptions
- foreign and domestic terrorism
- commodity price risk
- genetically engineered food
- effects of global warming
- accidental and malicious contamination
- reputational damage
- loss of revenue due to volumetric risk
- environmental impairment
- governmental and regulatory reforms

In this complex and evolving industry, you must reduce volatility,
stabilize earnings and control pre- and post-loss risk exposures in order
to protect your assets and increase your shareholder value.

Aon's agribusiness and food system experts have the knowledge, experience
and tools to provide you with the insight and solutions you need to
identify and manage your risks, and capture opportunities for growth and
success. Our specialists will help you:
- identify and measure your portfolio of risk
- optimize capital allocation
- minimize costs
- manage growth
- reduce volatility
- improve quality
- build workforce commitment
- prepare for the unexpected

Our team uses Aon's proprietary tools to create a powerful, global
knowledge base that will help you target the specialized risks in your
industry. As your trusted advisor, we know the issues that challenge your
business, your people and your markets, and we can help you develop
effective, lasting solutions.


European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
In den Steinäckern 13
D - 38116 Braunschweig

P: +49-531-5168746
F: +49-531-5168747
M: +49-162-1054755
E: coordination(*)
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