Could 3D Printing Impact the Insurance Industry?

3D printing has been a personal fascination of mine for a long time now. The idea of losing or breaking something and being able to just “print a new one” appeals to both my sense of consumerism and my sense of frugality. I can get exactly what I want in just a few hours, rather than ordering something “kinda close” online and getting it a day or more later. And I don’t have to pay for shipping or design services!

This idea has started appealing to the insurance industry as well. A claims specialist company in the UK has started using 3D printing to replace custom jewelry once considered irreplaceable. This article from 3dprint.com has more information on that.

I also like the idea of being able to download a toy (e.g. a wind-up car), print the parts in whatever color I want, and put them together with my son. It’s an excellent way to spend a rainy afternoon both playing and teaching him to work with his hands.

I like the idea of printing things to sell as well. A family member recently purchased a mid-century beehive lamp. She mentioned how much it cost and I said I could probably 3D print the distinctive parts and buy the more generic ones from a hardware store. If we wanted, we could sell reproductions (even custom reproductions with modified shape or color!) for half of what an actual antique would cost. Perfect for those who like the look but aren’t as invested in the history of the item itself. Of course, if you try something like this be sure the design is not copyrighted!

If you do sell printed objects, you probably have manufacturing risks. For example, if one of our lamps were to catch fire, we could be held liable for any resulting property damage or bodily injury. We would want to test the lamps carefully, and ensure that we have adequate products liability coverage for our operation.

As always, be sure to check with your independent agent if you have any questions about coverage.

Have you done anything fun or interesting with a 3D printer? Let me know in the comments!

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