’The UK takes a different view on major risks to its global peers,’ says insurer’s UK managing director

Cyber incidents have topped the list as the biggest worry for UK companies, according to the Allianz Risk Barometer

Published yesterday (16 January 2024) to coincide with the beginning of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the annual survey also saw cyber incidents top global business concerns. 

However, while cyber incidents, such as ransomware attacks, data breaches and IT disruptions topped the list both in the UK and across the globe, fewer UK respondents selected this risk type as one of their top three concerns. 

Of 132 UK respondents, made up of Allianz corporate clients, brokers and industry trade organisations who were surveyed between October and November 2023, 36% said that cyber incidents were the biggest worry – a drop from 40% in last year’s report. 

In contrast, worries over the risk of cyber incidents have risen across the rest of the globe, with this risk type topping the rankings in 17 countries and in the aggregated global scores by a clear margin – 5% higher than the second most selected risk, which was business interruption. 

Cyber risks also dominated the global rankings by company size, with respondents from small, medium and large companies ranking the risk type as the most significant. 

Petros Papanikolaou, Allianz Commercial chief executive, explained: “The top risks and major risers in this year’s Allianz Risk Barometer reflect the big issues facing companies around the world right now – digitalisation, climate change and an uncertain geopolitical environment. 

“Many of thesr risks are already hitting home, with extreme weather, ransomware attacks and regional conflicts expected to test the resilience of supply chains and business models further in 2024.” 

Against the tide

Compared to the rest of the world, however, other risks have risen in the estimations of UK firms. The Risk Barometer revealed that natural catastrophes entered the top three risks as a new concern for those based in the UK, with 23% of respondents selecting this option as one of their three top picks. 

A shortage of skilled workers (21%) and political risks and violence (19%) also made the top 10 in the UK. 

On the other hand, concerns over macroeconomic risks in the UK fell from 34% in 2023 to only 18% in the most recent report.  

Nadia Côté, Allianz Commercial’s managing director for the UK, commented: ”The UK takes a different view on major risks to its global peers. While cyber is still the leading risk, concern about this and also about macroeconomic conditions have fallen over the last year. 

“Instead, an aligned group of other issues have risen to the forefront for business leaders. Shortage of skilled workers and the rising risk from new technologies, such as AI, bring together an increasing concern about a changing workplace and risks that group together in the D&O arena.”