Report says businesses must better protect themselves while operating in Asia

Businesses that operate in Southeast Asia need to better understand that the Asian terrorism threat is unique, complex and specific to the region, according to Lloyd’s.

A new report from Lloyd’s and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Terrorism in Asia: What does it mean for business, launched today at Lloyd’s 360 Risk Debate in Singapore, warns that traditional forms of terrorism in Asia are being superseded by area specific threats, such as criminal gangs with political agendas, and businesses need to respond to these.

The report outlines five practical actions that businesses can take to minimise the threat from a terrorist attack:

· gather high-quality information from the right source – using the expertise of government and academic bodies – to guide strategy and operations;

· choose locations wisely – across the world the possibility of a direct attack is low but businesses need to consider the risk of indirect damage;

· adopt security as good practice, not a burden;

· protect supply chains;

· engage with local communities and understand local customs and traditions.

Speaking at the 360 Risk debate in Singapore, Richard Ward, Lloyd’s chief executive, said: “There is no such thing as a uniform global threat, and in South East Asia, businesses face some complex and specific regional issues. While there are fewer occurrences of Islamist terrorism in the area, criminal gangs with agendas are on the rise, with kidnappings and other forms of violent crime increasingly prevalent in some parts of the region.

“Businesses need to be better at information gathering from the right source in order to focus on what they are actually threatened with, not reading the media headlines that usually focus on radicalism, and making decisions based on that.”

The report found that the main threat to businesses operating in Southeast Asia were proximity to Western targets, such as embassies, high commissions, hotels; kidnapping of employees; and threats to transport routes and supply chains.

“If a company’s supply chain is attacked or shut down, it simply can not survive. While many businesses are aware of possible attacks on their premises and take precautions to avoid this, too few take into account their operating systems and transport routes,” Ward added.

The Lloyd’s report is the culmination of a year’s work with the IISS designed to analyse the specific risks for businesses trading in Southeast Asia.

Lloyd’s launched the 360 Risk project two years ago to help drive the debate on emerging risk and bring together experts to discuss solutions for the benefit of businesses across the world. The debate in Singapore is the third in a series focusing on terrorism, with previous events held in London and New York.