While terrorism is somewhat difficult to define, it’s easy to understand the emotional impact it has on most Americans. A recent Gallup poll reported that Americans’ fear of terrorism is at the highest level since 2001. The rising fear of terrorism is due, in part, to the increasingly broad list of groups that perpetrate terrorist activities. Islamist jihads; home-grown right-wing, left-wing and Christian extremist groups; white supremacists, environmental activists and “lone wolves”—these all fall under the definition of terrorist organizations.
The world is fraught with terrorist concerns and unknown risks — that is a fact of life in 2016. There are no risk models that address terrorism and no secret formulas that can ensure the safety of both property and personnel. So, how does a risk manager address the unknown?
In 2004, IRMI provided an expert commentary on “Managing Terrorism Risk.” This document provided a three-tier terrorism risk management plan outlining a series of steps that could help reduce terrorism risk. While this piece was first published more than 10 years ago, the expert commentary is still valuable today as we continue to deal with terrorist threats in America.
IRMI suggests a three-phase terrorism risk management program including threat identification, risk assessment and, finally, risk management procedures to help alleviate risk.
Developing a plan to assess and manage risk is the first step in protecting your company’s property, personnel and finances. Whether you are protecting against a terrorist threat or any other hazard, you need to be proactive.
Your broker and insurance carrier can provide assistance in assessing risk and identifying products and services that can help reduce risk exposures. Risk engineering tools, services and training can help identify structural vulnerabilities and safety issues and help you build a risk management process. Including terrorism coverage as part of your property policy should be a standard consideration; always make sure that the coverage does not exclude terrorism as a covered loss.
Ultimately, a risk management strategy that combines sound security practices, adequate insurance coverage and regularly scheduled assessment review can be the best defense against the risk of terrorism.
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