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Political upheaval prompts rethink

Political upheaval prompts rethink on terrorism risk management: Aon map

Political violence, strikes and war join terrorism as key threats to businesses

Political violence, strikes, riots, civil war and war threaten the sustainable growth, continuity and profitability of businesses as much as terrorism, according to Aon Risk Solutions, the risk management business of Aon Corporation (NYSE: AON). Consequently, 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 Aon Terrorism and Political Violence Map 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. The risk of coup d’etat and rebellions in Africa reflect a continent that presents a significant political violence risk. 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, produced by Aon in collaboration with the security consultancy firm Janusian, which is part of The Risk Advisory Group, 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. 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:

  • 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.”

Access to Aon’s online 2011 Terrorism and Political Violence Threat Map and hard copies can be requested via

A collaboration between Aon and Janusian, Terrorism Tracker is a set of tools to help businesses assess and manage terrorism risk. At its center is the Terrorism Tracker database, which allows subscribers to conduct their own research on terrorist activity around the world and display their results using Google Maps. The database informs Janusian’s ratings for the annual Aon map and supports a monthly newsletter available to Aon’s clients.

Terrorism threat is defined as an assessment of the intent and capability that terrorist groups will stage attacks and the likelihood that they will succeed.

Aon WorldAware is a country risk information service available online to Aon clients as well as via mobile apps. The information is provided by Janusian and is updated on a daily basis to reflect the ever changing political and security situations around the world.

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