The number of product recalls are increasing due to greater public awareness of product safety risks (often circulated via social media) and are particularly prevalent in the automotive and food sectors.
In January this year the government set up a new Office for Product Safety & Standards. One of their first steps, alongside BSI (the UK's National Standards Body) was to release the first government-backed Code of Practice (PAS 7100) for product safety recall in the UK.
In the attached article Lockton have sited 7 recall trends. In particular, they highlight the risk of driverless cars suggesting that this will push increased risk onto the supply chain. Whilst consumer safety is clearly, and always should be, the main concern, manufacturers and their Insurers must take heed of the ever increasing product recalls and ensure that they have a recall strategy in place to ensure timely notification and prompt corrective action.
It is important that manufacturers have a streamlined system in place should they need to recall a product as patient safety is paramount. Considerations include:
1. Scope of the product use and distribution and data relating to the manufacturing chain.
2. A clear and concise recall message to alert users, including a plan of how this message will reach them.
3. Prompt notification to Insurers so that legal assistance can be put in place and guidance provided on recall alerts, patient safety impact and reputational management.
The widespread introduction of autonomous driving could see a shift in liability from individuals to product manufacturers, which could result in an increase in recall risk. 3D printing – already used to manufacture products ranging from aircraft parts to pharmaceuticals – could also change recall exposures.