According to data supplied by IHS Aerospace Defense & Security, a leading public source of defense and security information worldwide, the increasingly diverse and dispersed threat has seen terrorist activity around the world rise since 2009 (see figure below). There has also been a considerable rise in the number of fatalities from terrorist attacks during this period.
Unlike some other perils, (re)insurers often struggle to quantify the risk posed by terrorism due to its unpredictable nature. The human element means the nature of the threat is forever changing as groups relocate and adapt their tactics in response to counter-terrorism measures. However, there are some steps (re)insurers can take to improve risk awareness.
Monitoring the location and number of foiled attacks can help (re)insurers better understand terrorism risks in certain countries and regions. In 2013, for example, the epicenter of terrorist activity was located in the Middle East while parts of North Africa also saw a rapid rise in the number of attacks. According to IHS, the highest number of terrorist attacks occurred in Syria and Iraq in 2013. These two nations accompanied Pakistan, Afghanistan and India in making up the top five most attacked countries during the course of the year. The emergence of Islamist militant groups also saw terrorist activity spike in 2013 for countries affected by the Arab Spring movement, including Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.