Aon Risk Solutions, the global risk management business of Aon plc, urges companies to ensure threats to business continuity are considered as 37 countries were downgraded in the Aon 2012 Terrorism & Political Violence Map, largely due to civil unrest.
The continued effects of the global economic crisis were very much in evidence in 2011. As austerity measures and spending cuts took hold, civil unrest, riots, strikes and student protests were witnessed across large parts of Europe. This led to 43 percent of the downgrades in Aon's 2012 map.
The UK, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain were all downgraded from low risk to medium risk. Dramatic political change in the Arab world continued to cause aftershocks in that region and beyond. Authoritarian governments in Africa and Asia took measures to protect themselves from similar challenges as civil unrest, property damage and localised protests continued in the Middle East and North Africa.
Meanwhile, terrorism remains relevant to the security of businesses, with 46 percent of all countries assessed possessing the risk of terrorist incident icon. 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 as focal points for Islamist terrorist groups, Africa has shown the most dramatic shift in terrorism threat in the last year. The ratings of six African countries have been downgraded with Senegal receiving a double downgrade from low to high risk.
About the Aon 2012 Terrorism & Political Violence Map
Produced by Aon in collaboration with global risk consultancy The Risk Advisory Group, the Aon Terrorism & Political Violence Map reflects data recorded by: Terrorism Tracker*, which monitors global indicators of terrorism threat, including attacks, plots, communiques 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. Each country is assigned a threat level, starting at negligible, and rising through low, medium, high and severe.
The 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:
• 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 Practice, commented: "As can be seen from the number of downgrades, risks continue to grow. Companies that operate internationally have to keep up to date with potential risks around the world to enable them to protect their employees, physical assets and ultimately, their bottom line. Businesses need to identify the threats they face and implement a comprehensive risk management program to protect themselves. As the insurance market for political violence is very mature and can cope with complex international risks, it should be considered as part of a business' sound risk management program."
Dr. David Claridge, managing director of Risk Advisory, added: "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 features heavily in our assessments, both for its contribution to civil unrest, and also as post-uprising states fail to guarantee local and regional security. Weapons proliferation and unchecked growth of radical groups in Libya, Yemen and the Sinai Peninsula are of particular concern."