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Survey Report

Insurance Marketplace Realities 2022 – Life sciences product and professional liability

November 15, 2021

The life sciences product/completed operations and errors & omissions marketplace continues to be stable for both primary and excess layers.
Cyber Risk Management

Rate predictions

Rate predictions: Life Sciences
  Trend Range
Life Sciences: Increase (Purple triangle pointing up) Flat to +10% for favorable risks

Key takeaway

The life sciences product/completed operations and errors & omissions marketplace continues to be stable for both the primary and excess layers.


  • With the explosion of cyber-related claims, life science carriers are adding endorsements to affirmatively exclude cyber coverage. Entities that manufacture cyber-connected medical device products should confirm that their exposures are covered under their cyber program.
  • Primary rate increases are in the single digits for most buyers with favorable loss experience, no recalls and no products in multidistrict litigation or class action.
  • Excess layers typically follow the primary regarding rate increases.
  • Underwriters are hesitant to offer terms and, in some cases, even analyze a submission on programs that are repeatedly marketed year after year. Thorough and detailed submissions remain a critical component of a successful placement.


  • Overall capacity remains stable for life science risks, with a handful of new markets entering the space over the past several years.
  • Some carriers have decreased the limits they will offer on certain classes, including implantable devices and COVID products/clinical trials.
  • Select carriers are declining to offer cover for clinical research organizations conducting COVID trials when they are also covering the manufacturer of the product.
  • Except for certain high-hazard risks (i.e., orthopedic implants, opioids, mesh and other litigated classes), those insureds with a favorable loss history should find several carriers willing to offer terms.

Claims and litigation

  • The suspension of the courts caused delays in the looming opioid litigation, although there has been some movement recently as courts become accustomed to operating virtually.
  • Social inflation continues to impact settlement amounts and jury awards, leading to larger payouts.
  • The upward trend in third-party litigation funding continues to increase litigation costs and arguably influences outcomes.

Coverage considerations

  • Carriers continue to release new policy forms, which should be carefully reviewed for nuances in coverage.
  • Standard carriers continue to decline risks containing CBD-related products, while some non-admitted and wholesale-only carriers will offer terms.
  • The FDA continues to monitor products for impurities, leading to product recalls (most recently a smoking-cessation drug and various sunscreen products). Recall coverage within product liability programs is very limited and stand-alone cover should be considered.

Subsectors include

  • Pharmaceuticals and biotech
  • Generic pharmaceuticals
  • Medical device and technology
  • Nutraceuticals (including CBD products and energy drinks)
  • Contract research organizations
  • Laboratories offering customized test kits under their label
  • Contract manufacturing organizations


Willis Towers Watson hopes you found the general information provided in this publication informative and helpful. The information contained herein is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with your own legal advisors. In the event you would like more information regarding your insurance coverage, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. In North America, Willis Towers Watson offers insurance products through licensed subsidiaries of Willis North America Inc., including Willis Towers Watson Northeast Inc. (in the United States) and Willis Canada, Inc.


Sandie Mullen
North American Broking Leader
Life Sciences

Denise N. Gordon, CIC, CRM
Life Sciences Broking Leader, North America

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