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Technology risks top North American business worries in 2017

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Terrorist attacks, large cyber attacks, and misuse of technology are the top risks facing businesses in the United States, according the World Economic Forum survey released Wednesday.

The study was jointly published by strategic partners of the forum’s Global Risks Report, Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. and Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. Among other things, the executive opinion survey asks respondents to identify the five biggest risks to doing business in their respective countries.

“While the threat of a large cyberattack remains a chief business concern among North American executives, 2017 saw an increase in concern for terrorist attacks and climate risks, most likely due to recent high profile events,” Martin South, president, Marsh US and Canada, said in a statement.

Canadian executives named large cyber attacks, asset bubbles and climate change adaptation as their top risks, the survey said. 

In addition, 249 U.S. and 79 Canadian executives who responded to the survey believe technological, geopolitical, economic, and environmental risks were most likely to carry the greatest dangers for their businesses over the next 10 years.

Energy price shock and data fraud or theft were fourth and fifth respectively on the list for American executives, while fiscal crises and extreme weather events held the same spots for their Canadian counterparts.

Mike Foley, CEO for Zurich North America, said in a statement that the “survey results remind business leaders to take the time now to evaluate their risks and understand the impact on their total risk profile.”

The survey was conducted between February and June and is based on responses from 12,411 executives across 136 countries. The next edition of the Global Risks Report will be released in January.