Risky Business

Updated map shows threats of terrorism and political violence are easing in the West, but the world remains a dangerous place.

Aon Risk Solutions has issued its interactive 2014 Terrorism and Political Violence Map. Mousing over the map reveals a rating for each country, on a scale of 1 to 5, of the overall level of risk from terrorism and political violence to businesses operating within its borders. Users can also view ratings of business risk broken into subcategories: terrorism and sabotage; riots, strikes, civil commotion, and malicious damage to property; and insurrection, revolution, rebellion, mutiny, coup d'etat, civil war, and war. Aon developed the ratings jointly with the Risk Advisory Group plc.

Compared with last year's ratings, this year Aon gave reduced risk scores to 34 countries and gave increased risk scores to only four: Brazil, Japan, Mozambique, and Bangladesh. Brazil's rating rose from medium in 2013 to severe in 2014 because of last year's large-scale and violent anti-government protests, which Aon expects to continue. Japan's risk increased from negligible to low because of increased geopolitical tensions and the nation's rising military spending.

Not surprisingly, the Middle East and Africa remain the areas where businesses face the highest risks. One-third of all countries that received "high" or "severe" risk scores are in sub-Saharan Africa. Although the map does not include breakdowns by industry sector, Aon reports that retail and transportation are the sectors most at risk. Last year, 33 percent of terrorist attacks hit the retail sector, while 18 percent affected transportation.

"The map shows that having the means to understand and stay ahead of terrorism threats and political violence risks has never been more important," says Henry Wilkinson, head of the Intelligence and Analysis practice at Risk Advisory. "Despite signs of global economic recovery, businesses in emerging markets are as exposed as ever to a diversifying array of risks and threats from sophisticated and often highly networked adversaries. New threats can emerge increasingly rapidly, as hostile actors evolve faster and emulate tactics that have an ever-greater impact, be it through mobilizing mass unrest or mounting sustained armed terrorist attacks."

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