Pool Re: Only one in five UK businesses have a terrorism insurance policy

9 July 2019 — Cosmin CONCEATU
According to Pool Re, between February 1st, 2018 and May 31st, 2019 there were 323 terrorist acts causing 1,744 deaths and 2,335 injuries. The most affected regions were South Asia (118 attacks), Sub-Saharan Africa (100) and Middle East & North Africa (70). Europe (6 attacks) and Russia & CIS states (0 attacks) were the safest regions in this period.

One of the six attacks that took place in Europe happened in Great Britain. Pool Re has found that only one in five businesses in UK have an insurance policy against terrorism. A terrorism act can expose a company to a permanent financial loss if its activity is located in the proximity of an attack.

"It remains critically important for all businesses, be they small enterprises or large corporates, to increase their resilience to terrorism of all kinds by proactively managing and mitigating risk. Terrorism insurance is just one element of a successful risk management strategy, but it is fundamental in helping businesses transfer terrorism risks and recover from terrorism events" wrote the reinsurer.

In their latest Terrorism Frequency Report, Pool Re offered a detailed analysis over the characteristics of each type of terrorism form. The figures show an increasing trend in almost each type of terrorism act: Left-Wing Terrorism (LWT), Right-Wing Terrorism (RWT), Northern Ireland-related Terrorism (NIRT) and Islamist Terrorism. Islamist Terrorism still remains the most frequent type of terrorism, but other forms of terrorism are spreading, expanding the risk spectrum brought this phenomena.


Left-Wing Terrorism (LWT)

  • With the collapse of communism in late 1980, LWT acts from violent Marxist-Leninist movements considerably decreased in Western Europe in the past half-century;
  • Today LWT groups account for 5% of the attacks globally, with high concentration in Latin America;
  • UK experienced less LWT activity than its European neighbors, where numerous LWT actions were seen, but no casualties resulted;
  • While in early 2000, LWT manifested against individuals (several animal rights activists planted under-vehicle and parcel-borne bombs, targeting individuals and business which they claimed to harm animals), LWT actions shifted towards intimidation, or disruptive direct action or attacks on property (for example 2013 destruction of an under-construction police facility in Portishead by the anarchist group 'Angry Foxes Cell');
  • Rising political polarisation and increasing evidence of potentially catastrophic climate change could encourage the re-emergence of LWT groups committed to violent direct action;
  • Offences against property (without the intent to cause loss of life) are the most likely manifestation of LWT; targeted attacks against symbolic individuals or institutions are also a realistic possibility;
  • For the insurance industry, LWT poses many of the same challenges seen in Right-Wing Terrorism (RWT).

Right-Wing Terrorism (RWT) and Islamist terrorism

  • According to Pool Re analysis, the number of RWT attacks in West increased in the past years and this trend is expected to further grow in the future;
  • While RWT approach uses similar methodologies to those seen in the Islamic terrorism, RWT targets different objectives, thus increasing the range of exposure to the terrorism risk;
  • RWT is less likely to happen to population, as Islamit terrorism does, but crowded locations associated with ethnic, religious and sexual minorities or high-profile left-wing individuals could be at risk;
  • RWT targeting property is often labeled as hate crimes rather, but the use of explosives in these attacks, having the potential to harm people, can sometimes fall in the category of RWT;

Pool Re concluded:

"The problem of radicalisation appears a perennial one, but how it expresses itself through different ideologies appears to broadly follow trends that go in similar directions; but as we move into a world where traditional groups hold an ever-more diffuse appeal and micro-ideologies start to emerge, how the threat picture expresses itself and who we need to pay attention to will become ever more confusing."

The latest Terrorism Frequency report (July 2019) can be found here:

About Pool Re

Pool Re was established in 1993 as a response to the market failure that was triggered by the bombing of the Baltic Exchange.

Pool Re is the UK's terrorism reinsurance pool, providing protection for the UK economy and underwriting over GBP 2 trillion of exposure to terrorism risk in commercial property across the UK mainland. Through its Terrorism Research and Analysis Centre (TRAC), Pool Re aims to improve the risk awareness of current and emerging terrorism perils.

To date Pool Re has paid out more than GBP 600 million for terrorism claims. The largest claim was paid for London 1993 Bishopsgate bombing, where the resulted damages amounted to GBP 262 million (GBP 800 million today cash equivalent). Pool Re's Fund is currently in excess of GBP 6 billion, taking into account that 5 out of 10 most costly terrorism acts across the world happened in UK.

You can find more about Pool Re activity on their website - www.poolre.co.uk

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