Despite the recent spike in terrorist-related activity, evolving capacity and the absence of a major terrorism loss for reinsurers have resulted in a softening terrorism reinsurance market in areas with less perceived risk. Although localized terrorism and political violence activity has impacted certain facultative programs and affected pricing and capacity at the local level, adequate terrorism capacity continues to be available in the reinsurance treaty marketplace for certain countries and territories.
Posts Tagged ‘terror’
The spillover of violence from Syria to other Middle Eastern countries is a clear risk in 2014 and beyond. The conflict, and the sectarian tensions that underpin it, could destabilize a number of countries that share borders with Syria and be a catalyst for further violence in countries such as Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Jordan. Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has already exploited conditions in Syria to its advantage in Iraq, where the level of violence is at its highest for a number of years. The group has also made significant territorial gains in Iraq recently, advancing its aim of creating a caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq.
The next 18 months are likely to be an important period for Afghanistan and Pakistan in determining whether the impending withdrawal of US-led coalition forces from Afghanistan could be exploited by militant groups and a precursor to increased terrorist activity in both countries. In particular, there are fears Afghanistan could descend into civil war as the Taliban seeks to reassert its control over certain areas of the country after coalition troops withdraw, thereby recreating a sanctuary for militants similar to the one that existed before the September 11, 2001 attacks.
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.
Despite being overshadowed by the transnational Islamist terrorist threat since September 11, 2001, a number of destructive and costly attacks have been carried out by non-Islamic domestic groups and individuals. These include the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in the United Kingdom, Timothy McVeigh of the Oklahoma bombing in the United States and the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. Such acts have resulted in significant property losses for (re)insurers. Indeed, as shown below, seven of the top ten most costly terrorist attacks (in terms of insured property losses) between 1990 and the first quarter of 2014 were carried out by these domestic groups.
Here we continue to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of the Islamist terror groups, along with their overall threat to the Western world. Despite the gains made in counter-terrorism since September 11, 2001, it is clear that the threat from large Islamist terrorist groups has not been eradicated. Indeed, a number of Islamist terrorist organizations continue to aspire to conduct complex attacks against Western countries and interests around the world.
Despite the undoubted counter-terrorism gains that have been made since September 11, 2001, it is clear that the threat from large Islamist terrorist groups has not been eradicated. Indeed, a number of Islamist terrorist organizations continue to aspire to conduct complex attacks against Western countries and interests around the world. The attacks carried out in Indonesia (2002), Madrid (2004), London (2005) and Mumbai (2008) are a stark reminder of the objectives of such groups.
Terrorist activity over the last 18 months has reflected the changing terrorism landscape. Several important developments have occurred since the beginning of 2013, starting with French military intervention in Mali in January 2013 to prevent the country from becoming a failed state and base for jihadist terrorists.
The global terrorism landscape has changed considerably since the September 11, 2001 attacks. During this time, improved intelligence and counter-terrorism operations around the world have weakened the threat posed to the West by the core al-Qaeda group. Military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the killing of several key terrorist operatives, including Osama bin Laden, have marginalized al-Qaeda and its affiliates and prevented other spectacular attacks on the scale of September 11, 2001.
The threat from terrorism has undergone significant change since the attacks of September 11, 2001. Heightened and more effective counter-terrorism activities in the following years have prevented repeat attacks on the scale of those carried out in New York and Washington D.C. Nevertheless, al-Qaeda and its affiliates, along with individuals inspired by the movement, still pose a significant threat to Western interests around the world as events over the last 18 months have shown.