Terrorism Threat Undiminished

The breaking news that a bomb was found this morning on a subway train in Rome, Italy, is the latest reminder that terrorism risk is a constant and reemerging threat.

It follows a suicide bombing attempt in Stockholm, Sweden a few weeks ago and a car bomb plot at a Christmas tree lighting event in Portland, Oregon, the day after Thanksgiving.

Next year marks the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and the cost of terrorism still looms large in United States history.

It’s worth noting that after more than nine attack-free years, the $32.5 billion in losses paid out by insurers for the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, places second in an I.I.I. ranking of the most costly U.S. catastrophes – after just Hurricane Katrina (2005).

According to a story today on NPR, human error is a key reason for the failure of a number of high-profile terrorist attacks in the course of the past year.

NPR quotes Phillip Mudd, a former CIA and FBI terrorism specialist saying that the U.S. shouldn’t take any solace in the fact that plots launched in 2010 fell flat:

“I’m not sure why so many of them are failing, but I don’t think we should take that as success. One of these kids is going to succeed.†

Meanwhile, an article in the Wall Street Journal reports on an antiterrorism training exercise conducted by the New York Police Department in December.

The WSJ says the simulation of attacks included a series of bombings and gun attacks and was structured to mirror the November 2008 Mumbai attacks in India, when in the course of a few minutes, 10 gunmen attacked various locations in the city.

Check out an Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) report for more information on why terrorism risk is likely to remain a serious threat in the decade ahead.

Also check out the I.I.I. backgrounder on terrorism risk and insurance.

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