Aon’s annual publication of its Terrorist Risk Map has been expanded. Aon said this year’s version features areas where “political violence, strikes, riots, civil war and war threaten the sustainable growth, continuity and profitability of businesses as much as terrorism.”
Aon Risk Solutions, the unit that prepares the map in collaboration with the security consultancy firm Janusian, noted that “for the first time in its 10-year history, Aon’s annual Terrorism Threat Map now also takes these factors into account in assessing the severity of threats businesses face around the world.”
The 2011 version “shows increased risk of political violence in the Middle East and North Africa, reflecting the significant turbulence of the Arab Spring uprisings in the region,” Aon’s bulletin explained. “The risk of coup d’etat and rebellions in Africa reflect a continent that presents a significant political violence risk.”
However, those aren’t the only areas where increased levels of violence threaten stability. Aon notes that “civil unrest and labor disputes arising from austerity measures in Western European nations such as Greece, France, Spain and the UK are also reflected on the map.
“Meanwhile, terrorism continues to severely afflict established conflict zones like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia as well as parts of Nigeria and the Sahel region. The threat of occasional acts of international terrorism remains significant for most Western nations and major powers.”
The map “reflects data recorded by Terrorism Tracker*, which monitors global indicators of terrorism threat, including attacks, plots, communiqués and government countermeasures, Aon WorldAware*, which provides country risk information for business travelers and an expert assessment of the security situation in more than 200 countries,” the bulletin explained. “Each country is assigned a threat level, starting at negligible, and rising through low, medium, high and severe.”
The Aon Terrorism and Political Violence Map “acts as a gauge for the intensity of the threat of political violence to international business in each country and three icons indicate the forms of political violence likely to be encountered.” The threats are grouped as follows:
• Terrorism and sabotage
• Strikes, riots, civil commotion and malicious damage to property
• Political insurrection, revolution, rebellion, mutiny, coup d’etat, war and civil war
Neil Henderson, head of terrorism in Aon Risk Solutions’ Crisis Management team, commented: “While the attacks of September 11 were the genesis for the Aon Terrorism Threat Map, the issues that should be of most concern to people and businesses have evolved greatly in the nearly 10 years since.
“While terrorism remains a very real threat around the world, the reality is that threats to business continuity are also coming from political violence in all its many forms. The change in the way the map is scored should not be seen as a decrease in the incidence or severity of terrorist threats, but rather the fact that it provides businesses with a more inclusive view of some of the risk management issues they are facing around the world.
“Businesses should, as a first step, identify the threats they face and implement a comprehensive risk management program to protect their employees, physical assets and ultimately, their bottom line. As the insurance market for terrorism insurance is very mature and can cope with complex international risks, it should be considered as part of a sound risk management program.”
Dr. David Claridge, managing director of Janusian, added: “The threat of terrorism remains a daily concern for business risk managers. Islamist terrorist groups continue to pursue a global agenda, illustrated by plots such as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s attempt to bomb cargo planes last October last year as well as internationalizing local grievances by attacking targets like Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, which was bombed in January.
“The uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa have highlighted the need for risk managers to take a comprehensive approach by assessing exposure to political violence in all its forms.”
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