Renewed Terrorism Threat

The thwarted car bomb attack in New York City’s Times Square on Saturday night is the latest in a series of incidents (such as the March 29 Moscow subway bombings and the thwarted Christmas Day bombing on board a U.S.-bound flight) that are propelling terrorism into the headlines once more and reaffirm the risk facing insurers.

The Wall Street Journal reports that counterterrorism experts say the car bomb attempt and other recent plots against U.S. targets may indicate a shift to small-scale strikes that are harder to detect in advance. While investigators have said the crude explosives don’t indicate much explosives expertise, the WSJ article cites counterterrorism experts saying that the construction of the car bomb was similar to that used in an attempted attack on a British nightclub in 2007 and also bears resemblance to plans for further al Qaeda-linked attacks using vehicles packed with gas cylinders.

A New York Times article cites research by the terrorism response center in Maryland showing that from 1970 through 2007, terrorists used car bombs at least 1,495 times. The center tracked 876 in the Middle East and North Africa, 212 in Western Europe and 163 in South Asia.

The reemerging threat of terrorism and its impacts for property/casualty insurers is the subject of a recently released Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) paper. It observes that while nearly nine years may have passed since the September 11 terrorism attack, terrorism is a reemerging and perhaps growing threat for the decade ahead. Check out further I.I.I. facts and stats on terrorism.

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