As terrorists increasingly target private citizens and public gatherings, last year marked the most lethal year for terrorist violence in Europe in nearly a decade, according to Aon Risk Solutions’ 2016 Terrorism and Political Violence Map.

As a result of these attacks, Aon Risk Solutions said 2015 showed the first net increase in global terrorism risk ratings since 2013, with 18 countries experiencing an increase in their ratings and 13 countries seeing a decrease.

For the first time since 2007—when Aon and The Risk Advisory Group jointly began collecting data to create the map—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 report revealed.

The global threat posed by Islamic State (IS) dominates many of the map’s findings this year, with mass casualty attacks in 2015 and early 2016 affecting the United States, France, Turkey and Belgium, the report said.

Indeed, the report said, IS’ 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,” said the Aon Risk Solutions report.

“Our 2016 map demonstrates increasing regional instability and a growing spectrum of potential risks,” said Scott Bolton, director in Crisis Management at Aon Risk Solutions.

“The threats highlighted in the map should encourage 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. Understanding how they are exposed to the peril is key to achieving this outcome,” he added.

“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,” said Henry Wilkinson, head of Intelligence and Analysis at London-based 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,” Wilkinson added. “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.”

The 2016 Aon Terrorism and Political Violence Map revealed increased risk ratings for:

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

The map reported that the most active regions for terrorist attacks during 2015 were:

  • Middle East—1114 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

The map revealed most active countries for terrorist attacks in 2015 as:

  • Iraq—845
  • Afghanistan—312
  • Pakistan—290
  • Egypt—257
  • Turkey—214
  • Colombia—189
  • India—170
  • Nigeria—132
  • Thailand—131
  • Palestinian Territories—102

The top six targeted business sectors in 2015 were:

  • Transport—131
  • Retail—115
  • Extractives—87
  • Critical Infrastructure— 83
  • Financial—29
  • Tourism (primarily hotels and resorts, and civil aviation)—25

Aon’s 2016 Terrorism and Political Violence Map can be downloaded via the broker’s website.

Source: Aon Risk Solutions