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Aon 2012 risk map downgrades 37 countries

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With civil unrest and the continued effects of the global economic crisis contributing to 37 countries being downgraded in the Aon 2012 Terrorism & Political Violence Map, businesses should make sure they address business continuity exposures, according to Aon Risk Solutions.

In announcing this year's version of the annual risk assessment, Aon Risk Solutions, the global risk management business of London-based Aon P.L.C., said austerity measures and spending cuts drove civil unrest, riots, strikes and student protests across much of Europe, leading to 43% of the downgrades in the 2012 map. The United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain all saw their risk assessment downgraded to medium risk from low risk.

Political changes in Arab counties continued to have an impact on risk in the region, Aon said in a statement, as authoritarian governments in Africa and Asia moved to protect themselves from similar political challenges.

Terrorism remained a significant factor in the 2012 map, with 46% of all countries assessed marked for demonstrating a risk of terrorism or sabotage. Aon said that while South Asia and the Middle East remain focal points for Islamist terrorist groups, Africa showed the most dramatic shift in the threat of terrorism in the last year with the ratings of six African countries downgraded, including Senegal's “double downgrade” from low to high risk.

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The map is produced by Aon in collaboration with London-based global risk consultant the Risk Advisory Group P.L.C. It draws on data recorded by Terrorism Tracker, an online database monitoring global terrorism threat indicators; Aon WorldAware, which provides country risk information for business travelers; and expert assessment of the security situation in more than 200 countries.

Each country is assigned a threat level of negligible, low, medium, high or severe, with the map reflecting the local threat of terrorism and sabotage; strikes, riots, civil commotion and malicious damage to property; and political insurrection, revolution, rebellion, mutiny, coup d'etat, war and civil war.

“As can be seen from the number of downgrades, risks continue to grow,” Neil Henderson, head of terrorism in Aon Risk Solutions' crisis management practice, said in the statement. “Companies that operate internationally have to keep up to date with potential risks around the world to enable them to protect their employees, physical assets and ultimately, their bottom line.”

Access to Aon's 2012 Terrorism & Political Violence Map can be requested at http://www.aon.com/terrorismmap.