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Thursday, 14 April 2016 10:47

Most Lethal Year for Terrorism in Europe in Nearly a Decade

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Aon Terrorism and Political Violence Map

  • Shootings overtake bombings in the western world for the first time since 2007
  • Terrorists targeting private citizens and public gatherings
  • First net increase in global terrorism risk ratings since 2013

Aon Risk Solutions, the global risk management business of Aon plc, today launches its annual Terrorism and Political Violence Map, highlighting 2015 as the most lethal year for terrorist violence in Europe in nearly a decade as terrorists increasingly target private citizens and public gatherings. This marks the first net increase in global terrorism risk ratings since 2013, with the risk ratings of 18 countries experiencing an increase and 13 countries seeing a decrease.

For the first time since Aon and The Risk Advisory Group jointly began collecting empirical data to create the map in 2007, shootings have overtaken bombings in the western world, while the targeting of civilians in public spaces has become more commonplace. Since January 2015, nearly one-third (31 percent) of all attacks in the western world targeted private citizens and public gatherings.

The global threat posed by Islamic State 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 United States, France, Turkey and Belgium all affected. The terrorist organisation’s activities have contributed to sustaining or increasing risk levels in more than a dozen countries worldwide. Far-right activism as well as civil unrest risks stemming from the European migrant crisis and the increasing influence of extremist parties have also driven rating increases.

Closer to home, South Africa’s risk level has increased from low to medium, and it retains the strikes and civil unrest peril. “The increase in the risk level is in large part because of an increase in strike action and anti-government protests, as well as a breakdown in relations between the governing ANC party and some major trade unions. We have not recorded any terrorist attacks over the past 12 months and there have not been official announcements of disruptions to major plots,” says Darlington Munhuwani, Regional Controller for Aon Sub-Sahara Africa.

“Our 2016 map demonstrates increasing regional instability and a growing spectrum of potential risks on a global scale,” Darlington adds. “The terrorism threat continues to evolve and is no longer limited to physical damage to infrastructure. It is now broader and includes cyber threats, kidnap and ransom, business interruption as well as event cancellations.  This presents an increasing challenge for business leaders and risk managers of companies with a global footprint. All these risks must be properly evaluated before a comprehensive terrorism program is put in place.”

The most business-threatening political violence risks continue to emerge from war and sudden changes in government control, such as those which occur through coups d’état,” says Henry Wilkinson, head of Intelligence and Analysis at The Risk Advisory Group plc, which has collaborated with Aon to produce the Terrorism and Political Violence map since 2007. “These are less manageable risks and our findings flag several countries where there is heightened probability of both. Businesses need to be flexible and robust in how they anticipate and manage risks in the fluid world the map depicts. This requires actionable assessments that take both a strategic and a more detailed operational view of the markets in which they seek to thrive.”

About the 2016 Aon Terrorism and Political Violence Map

The risk ratings for the 2016 Aon Terrorism & Political Violence Map represent the joint findings and assessments by Aon experts and The Risk Advisory Group, which have produced the Map in collaboration since 2007.

The map captures assessments of the probability and impact of events occurring along the spectrum of insurable terrorism political violence risk typologies. The country risk scores and identified perils are based upon analysis of proprietary empirical data from the preceding year, open source intelligence analysis on the intentions and capabilities of relevant actors, as well as more systemic prevailing trends affecting security and stability around the world. The ratings are based upon empirical Terrorism Tracker data from the preceding 12 months, Risk Advisory’s data and intelligence analysis on political and geopolitical risks, and joint consultations between Aon experts and The Risk Advisory Group. The ratings are intended to be reflective of prevailing risk trends in 2016 at the time of publication.

We assign each country a score on a five-point scale that reflects the severity of risk in each country or territory. The scores are weighted to accommodate a wide range of political risk and security variables, including Terrorism and Sabotage; Riots, Strikes, Civil Commotion and Malicious Damage; and Insurrection, Revolution, Rebellion, Mutiny, Coup D’état, War and Civil War. The aggregate of these variables reflects the country’s total score and color on the map. The map shows how these perils relate to Aon insurance products and enables prospective clients to identify the specific risks they should consider.

About The Risk Advisory Group

The Risk Advisory Group is a leading independent global risk consultancy that helps businesses grow whilst protecting their people, their assets and their brands. By providing facts, intelligence and analysis, The Risk Advisory Group helps its clients negotiate complex and uncertain environments to choose the right opportunities, in the right markets, with the right partners. For further information, please visit

Increased rating for 2016 map:

  • Angola
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Burundi, Ghana, Guyana
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Nepal
  • Qatar
  • South Africa
  • Sweden
  • Tunisia
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

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
  • Tourism (primarily hotels, resorts and civil aviation) – 25

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