The past year has been the most lethal in a decade for European terrorism, with attacks targeting private citizens and public gatherings, notes Aon Risk Solutions’ latest Terrorism and Political Violence Map.
Shootings have overtaken bombings in the western world for the first time since 2007 (when Aon began its global risk mapping), according to the broker.
The 2016 map also saw the first net increase in global terrorism risk ratings since 2013, with the risk ratings of 18 countries increasing, and 13 countries seeing a decrease.
Since January 2015, 31% of all attacks in the western world targeted private citizens and public gatherings.
The global threat posed by Islamic State (IS) dominates many of the map findings this year, as the group entered a more aggressive phase of mounting mass casualty attacks in 2015 and early 2016, with the US, France, Turkey and Belgium all affected.
Activities by IS, or attacks inspired by the group, have contributed to sustaining or increasing risk levels in more than a dozen countries worldwide, said Aon.
Far-right activism as well as civil unrest risks, stemming from the European migrant crisis and the increasing influence of extremist parties, are also blamed for driving increased risk ratings.
“In Europe and the West, the pervasive nature of IS has been a surprise,” Scott Bolton, director in crisis management at Aon Risk Solutions, told Reactions.
“The role of IS in sustaining risk ratings for certain geographies – Syria and Iraq – is unsurprising, but for France and Belgium it is also driving their risk rating,” said Bolton.
“Belgium has the highest proportion in
Some of these individuals are highly capable, he suggested, and in some cases are coming home from fighting in the Middle East with skills and training in weapons and tactics.
“That aligns with the nature of attacks. There’s more of a mass casualty focus, killing as many individuals as possible to reach their propaganda goals,” said Bolton.
The changing nature of attacks should have an impact in the insurance space, he suggested.
“Once you move towards mass casualty attacks, the property damage goes down,” he said. “The impact of shooting attacks is broader, including non-property business interruption and liability coverages for employees.”
Corporate insurance buyers will be moved to reappraise their risk management for such scenarios, as well as for their insurance buying, he noted, with potential for bringing together clients’ security delivery teams with underwriters and brokers to gain better understanding of the risks and mitigation strategies in place.
Most active regions for terrorist attacks in 2015:
· Middle East (1,114 attacks) - Down from 2014
· South Asia (799 attacks) - Down from 2014
· North Africa (491 attacks) - Up from 2014
· Sub-Saharan Africa (331 attacks) - Down from 2014
· Eurasia (298 attacks) - Up from 2014
· Latin America (212 attacks) - Up from 2014
· Asia Pacific (188 attacks) - Down from 2014
· The West (35 attacks) - Down from 2014
Most active countries for terrorist attacks in 2015:
· Iraq (845)
· Afghanistan (312)
· Pakistan (290)
· Egypt (257)
· Turkey (214)
· Colombia (189)
· India (170)
· Nigeria (132)
· Thailand (131)
· Palestinian Territories (102)
Top six targeted business sectors in 2015:
· Transport – 131
· Retail – 115
· Extractives – 87
· Critical Infrastructure – 83
· Financial – 29