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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Business interruption ranked the joint top risk to companies in 2019

Business interruption (BI) and cyber incidents are the top two threats facing companies around the world in 2019, a survey of insurance experts and risk managers has revealed.

BI threats continue to evolve ©iStock
BI threats continue to evolve ©iStock

Published in the Allianz Risk Barometer 2019, the findings show that natural catastrophes, legislation and regulation, and market developments complete the top five risks for this year.

The report highlights how the average BI property insurance claim now stands at $3.4m (£2.6m), with losses from the largest events running into the hundreds of millions or more.

Allianz said businesses also face a growing number of interruptions that do not involve physical damage, such as when retailers lost around $1.1bn following protests in France at the end of 2018.

“Disruptive risks can be physical, such as fire or storms, or virtual, such as an IT outage,” Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty CEO, Chris Fischer Hirs, said.

“Companies need to plan for a wider range of disruptive scenarios and triggers, as this is where their big exposure lies in today’s networked society.”

The annual survey of 2,415 experts from 85 countries also found that fires, new technology, climate change, loss of reputation, and worker shortages are among the top 10 risks for 2019.

In the UK, the results show that changes to legislation and regulation, including concerns around Brexit, are the top risks facing companies this year, along with cyber threats.

For the first time ever, shortages of skilled workers are also in the top 10 risks for British firms, with this threat also featuring highly for businesses in the US, Canada and Australia.

Allianz deputy chief economist, Ludovic Subran, said competition is “fierce” for workers in data science or cyber risk as many of these jobs didn’t exist 10 years ago.

“Even attractive salaries do not suffice, as the pool of recruits with the needed skill set is limited, and the urgency to onboard them does not allow for on-the-job training,” he continued.

“A skilled workforce – and human capital more generally – has become the scarce resource of the digital economy,” 

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