Terrorism and Political Risk Increase

Companies that operate internationally need to ensure they protect their employees, physical assets and business continuity amid a growing risk of terrorism and political violence around the world.

Civil unrest drove the downgrade of 37 countries in the Aon 2012 Terrorism and Political Violence Map.

Austerity measures and spending cuts in Europe sparked civil unrest, riots, strikes and student protests across Europe, leading to 43 percent of the downgrades in Aon’s analysis. The UK, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain were all downgraded from low risk to medium risk.

Meanwhile, terrorism remains relevant to the security of businesses, with some 46 percent of all countries assessed possessing the risk of terrorist incident icon, according to Aon.

It notes that the death of Osama bin Laden last year signified the decline of a truly globalized radical Islamist terrorism capability, but regionally active groups continue to be inspired by al-Qaida’s ideology.

While South Asia and the Middle East remain focal points for Islamist terrorist groups, Africa has shown the most dramatic shift in terrorism threat in the last year, Aon says. The ratings of six African countries have been downgraded with Senegal receiving a double downgrade from low to high risk.

In a press release Dr. David Claridge, managing director of Aon Risk Advisory, comments:

“Once again the map highlights the challenges businesses face in ensuring the security and continuity of their global operations. For the first time since the map’s inception, we have recorded significant negative ratings in Western Europe that reflect civil disorder in economies traditionally seen as stable. With further austerity measures still to be imposed and the eurozone crisis only in remission, economic and social degradation are likely to be important drivers of future unrest.†

The Arab Spring also features heavily in Aon’s analysis, both for its contribution to civil unrest and as post-uprising states fail to guarantee local and regional security.

Companies should consider insurance as part of their risk management program, Aon adds.

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