Pressure at work and school, the financial crisis and concerns about their families are keeping Europeans awake at night, according to a survey conducted by Zurich Insurance Group in eight European countries.
Getting sick or losing a loved one is seen as their biggest risk by most, Zurich found. Car, life and household insurance are considered to be the most important insurance products.
“All countries agree on one point: partner, family and friends provide most security to Europeans. At the same time, worries about the immediate social environment also deprive many of their sleep,” the survey says.
The survey was conducted by GfK in Austria, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and the UK among 4,522 people aged 14 and older between September 12 and October 5, 2012.
Breaking down the survey by country, Zurich found that for the Swiss (42 percent), Germans (40 percent), Austrians (32 percent) and Russians (44 percent) pressure at work or at school are the most frequently mentioned reasons for sleepless nights.
In Portugal (50 percent) and Spain (64 percent), the financial and euro crisis and in the UK (45 percent) financial problems rank first. The latter is also among the top three in Austria, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Russia.
For the Italians (42 percent) concerns about their family and children are most likely to keep them from sleeping. Problems with the immediate social environment rank as a top three concern in all other countries. Interestingly, the sleep of almost every third person in the UK, Russia and Switzerland is affected by noisy neighbors and every fifth person in those countries said their snoring partner is the problem.
In all eight countries, people consider illness and the loss of a loved one to be their biggest risks. The Swiss are as afraid of an accident as of becoming dependent on nursing care. Also in Germany, Austria, Italy and Russia, the fear of being dependent on nursing care is classified as a high risk. The Britons and Portuguese, however, are more afraid of losing their job, while the Spaniards consider the risk of death or poverty as significant.
The “most important insurance product” for Portuguese (76 percent), Spaniards (70 percent), Italians (66 percent) and Russians (62 percent) is life insurance, according to the survey. The Swiss and Germans on the other hand put most emphasis on liability insurance. Car insurance ranks in the top three in seven of the eight countries. Also household and accident insurance are among the top mentions. In Russia, along with life insurance, the protection of children ranks first.
“Europeans are in agreement on one point: if they could insure steady health for themselves and their families, they would do so,” the survey says.
In addition, financial security ranks among the top three mentions in all countries. The German-speaking countries would further insure peace, if it was possible, while in the Mediterranean countries and in Russia, a job guarantee is valued higher. And, to one in two Britons happiness is so important that they would want to insure it.
The social environment— their partner, family, friends — provide the greatest sense of security to Europeans. In seven out of eight countries, the employer and the workplace are very high in the rankings. The Italians, however, rather draw their security from insurance and pensions. One in five Swiss also sees the political system as a safe haven, very much contrary to Portugal, Spain and the UK where the outcome is at the other end of the scale. In Germany it is religion, in Italy and the UK the police and in Portugal and Spain the doctors provide a sense of security.
Source: Zurich Insurance Group