Pandemics and infectious diseases have left behind climate change and cyber risk to become the number one risk during the next five to 10 years.
Based on a global poll of more than 2,600 risk management and insurance experts from 53 countries, AXA’s 2020 Future Risks Report and survey found pandemics and infectious diseases had risen from eighth place in 2019 to number one this year. It was voted a major risk by 56% of these experts, compared to 23% a year ago.
Climate-change-related risk comes in second at 54%, dropping from the top spot it has held for years. Climate change, however, remains, the number one risk in Europe but falls to third place in Asia and America. The drop is particularly marked in North America, where the share of experts who consider climate change risks a major issue has fallen from 71% in 2019 to 46% in 2020.
Cyber security risk ranks third at 51%, from second position and 56% in 2019. The perception of cyber warfare risk has increased markedly and is seen as the main security threat by 47% of experts, compared to 37% last year. Geopolitical instability takes fourth place on 38%. Social unrest is fifth, voted a major risk by 33% of experts.
AXA CEO Thomas Buberl said, “This seventh edition is, of course, marked by the exceptional context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It highlights health as a major issue, which we consider a positive shift, as we have considered it underestimated for years. However, this must not affect the fight against climate change, which remains the most significant and pressing challenge of our time.
“In line with last year, this year’s edition highlights the growing interconnection of risks, calling for collective and concerted solutions to strengthen the resilience of our economies and societies,” he said.
The report brought out in partnership with research institute IPSOS and geopolitical analysis consultancy Eurasia Group shows that 2020 risk perceptions have clearly been shaped by the pandemic. A