The New York City-based insurer Travelers Cos. Inc., recently announced the results of it’s “Risk Index”, an annual survey that examines what keeps most U.S. business leaders and consumers up at night. When asked about whether the world is getting riskier, 41% of business leaders say “yes”. Large businesses see the world as more risky at about 44%, with midsize businesses at 43% and small businesses at 36%. They found that business leaders worry more about factors that could disrupt their business operations, such as worker injury and severe, damaging weather.
As for emerging risks, business leaders say that workforce and technology changes are things that trouble them most, while also citing empowered consumers, e-business and energy issues as new challenges.
The 6 major areas of concern that U.S. business leaders share:
- Cyber: 54% worry a great deal about cyber risks, especially consumers. Depending on your type of business, this could really affect your bottom line if most of your business is conducted online. 62% of consumers fear that their bank or financial accounts will be hacked for personal information. For 18-30 year olds, 47% are concerned with cyber risks, compared with 56% of those who are age 55-69.
- Distracted Driving: This is a concern that has continued to rise since the survey began in 2013. However, consumers are more worried about other drivers causing an accident by using a mobile device behind the wheel (76%) than they are about their own distracted driving (33%). Of all businesses, 65% have employees who use a personal vehicle for business purposes, which exposes the business to potential for legal liability and distracted driving risks.
- Changing Workforce: Demographic changes, technological advances and the global economy are some examples. 49% of businesses agreed that a changing workforce is the most worrisome trend they face. 50% indicated that they worry a great deal about being able to attract and retain talented and skilled staff. 39% worry about replacing baby boomers and 37% worry about the cost of training new workers. Close to one-third of business leaders, or 29%, worry about the implications of millennials entering the workforce.
- Financials: Overall, businesses worry the most about medical cost inflation but it’s greatest concern is to large businesses with more than 1,000 employees. This was followed by increasing employee benefit costs for 56% overall, and 49% of large businesses.
- Changing Weather: Of all companies surveyed, 40% said that their greatest weather-related concern is business interruption. For us in Pennsylvania, 46% of Northeast consumers expect a greater likelihood of damage from weather compared to Westerners at 29%.
- Risk Mitigation: U.S. business leaders say they’re least prepared to deal with the top three risk mitigation that cause them the most concern:
- 59% worry a great deal about medical cost inflammation, yet 31% feel unprepared to manage the risk.
- 56% worry about rising benefit costs, but 21% feel unprepared.
- 54% worry about cyber risks, with 25% feeling unprepared.