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Allianz Risk Barometer 2016 - Changes in risk perception

The impact of business interruption (incl. supply chain disruption), market developments (volatility, intensified competition and market stagnation) and cyber incidents are the major risks occupying the attention of companies at the start of 2016, according to the fifth annual Allianz Risk Barometer, which surveys over 800 risk managers and corporate insurance experts from more than 40 countries.

Business interruption (BI) remains the top peril for the fourth year in succession, with 38% of responses rating this as one of the three most important risks companies face. In today’s increasingly complex and interconnected corporate environment many of the top 10 global business perils in the 2016 Risk Barometer rankings, such as cyber-incidents and political risks, for example can also have severe BI implications.

However, businesses appear less concerned about the impact of traditional industrial risks such as natural catastrophes (storm, flood, earthquake) and fire, explosion compared with previous years, according to responses. These perils are two of the biggest fallers in the 2016 rankings. Natural catastrophes drops two positions to fourth year-on-year, down six percentage points, reflecting the fact that insurance claims from natural disasters fell to $27bn during 2015 – with nat cat losses at their lowest level since 2009 – according to reinsurer Munich Re. Fire, explosion drops further, falling from third in 2015 to eighth in 2016, down 11 percentage points.

Rising risk priorities

The 2016 Risk Barometer results show businesses are more concerned about a number of operational issues which are placing increasing pressure on their markets and challenging business models.

Intensified competition, particularly from non-traditional competitors and agile start-ups, is one of the drivers behind market developments appearing in the top
three risks for the first time, ranking second with 34% of responses (1).

Increasing digitalization and technological innovation is also anticipated to have more of an impact in future, according to responses.

Integration of interconnected digital and physical technology, such as 3D printing, nanotechnology, driverless cars and “smart” cities and factories, for example, is predicted to deliver many benefits including increasing efficiency and service levels, greener technology and reduced maintenance. However, such benefits are also accompanied by a number of potential new operational, security and strategic risks for businesses (see here).

Entering the top three business risks for the first time in third position with 28% of responses, meaning it ranks as a greater concern for businesses than natural catastrophes, cyber incidents (cyber-crime, databreaches, IT failures) is the significant mover in this year’s rankings, up 11 percentage points. It is also the top future risk, according to responses, while the increasing sophistication of cyber-attacks is the impact of digitalization companies fear most (see here).


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Impact of technological innovation moves up the Risk Barometer rankings this year. Photo: Shutterstock.

New technologies (impact of increasing interconnectivity and innovation) is also one of the biggest risers in the rankings year-on-year. In 2015 it ranked 19th with just 3% of responses. In 2016, it ranks 11th with 10% of responses.

Macroeconomic developments (austerity programs, commodity price increase, inflation/deflation) also appears in the top 10 global risks for the first time in sixth position (2), driven in part by the fact it is the top risk in the Africa & Middle East region (see here).

Political risks (war, terrorism, upheaval) remains a priority concern for businesses, maintaining ninth position. According to 54% of responses, multinational businesses are most concerned about the disruptive impact any instability or incident can have on their supply chains, followed by the impact of an act of terrorism (38%) and the introduction of sanctions (34%).

“Businesses need to prepare for a wider range of disruptive forces in 2016 and beyond,” says Axel Theis, Member of the Board of Management, Allianz SE. “The increasing impacts of globalization, digitalization and technological innovation pose fundamental challenges to many businesses and business models. The world is becoming increasingly competitive as market entry barriers come down.”

“The corporate risk landscape is changing, as many industrial sectors are undergoing a fundamental transformation,” says Chris Fischer Hirs, CEO, AGCS. "New technologies, increasing digitalization and the ‘Internet of Things’ are changing customer behavior, industrial operations and business models, bringing a wealth of opportunities, but also raising awareness of the need for an enterprise-wide response to new challenges.

“As insurers we need to work together with our corporate clients to help them to address these new realities in a comprehensive manner.”

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(1) In the 2015 Allianz Risk Barometer the risks listed as market developments were ranked separately, not as one collective peril.

(2) In the 2015 Allianz Risk Barometer the risks listed as macroeconomic developments were ranked separately, not as one collective peril.