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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

2015 ‘most lethal year’ for terrorism in Europe

The year 2015 was the deadliest for terrorist violence in Europe in nearly a decade, according to Aon Risk Solutions.


Brussels, 23 March 2016: People gathered in front of the Stock Exchange to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks that took place on March 22. © Shutterstock
The attacks in Brussels on 22 March took place in public spaces: Zaventem Airport and Maelbeek metro station. © Shutterstock

In its latest report Terrorism & Political Violence Risk Map, the firm explained that the West remained the safest in the world but terrorists increasingly targeted civilians and public gatherings in the region. 

Since January 2015, 31% of all attacks in the West took place in public spaces such as transportation points, bars, restaurants and hotels.

Scott Bolton, director in crisis management at Aon Risk Solutions, urged business leaders with global footprints to adopt a “more strategic risk management approach” to limit the impact of attacks on their people, operations and assets. 

He said: “Understanding how they are exposed to the peril is key to achieving this outcome.”

The report, produced with risk consultancy The Risk Advisory Group, highlighted that Islamic State entered a “more aggressive phase” of mounting mass casualty attacks in 2015 and early 2016, with the US, France, Turkey and Belgium all affected. 

Islamic State’s activities have contributed to risk levels being sustained or increased in more than a dozen countries, the study found. 

Based on assessment by Risk advisory and Aon experts, risk ratings increased in 18 nations and reduced in 13. 

Countries with increased risk ratings were: Angola, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Ghana, Guyana, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Qatar, South Africa, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Those with lowered ratings were: Belize, Colombia, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Kenya, Myanmar, Norway, the Philippines, Slovenia, Serbia, Thailand and Timor Leste. 

Henry Wilkinson, head of intelligence and analysis at The Risk Advisory Group, said: “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.”