BusinessFuture

Expect More Political Disturbances and Violence Ahead

A report tells of a significant increase in riots, demonstrations and vandalism ahead of a post-COVID-19 world.

The Allianz group says there will be more civil unrest which is the main political risk exposure for companies.

The Covid-19 pandemic is a key driver behind the rise of civil unrest. It has both magnified underlying long-standing grievances and given them a focal point. 

The pandemic has negatively affected political stability, increasing polarization and bringing into sharp relief issues surrounding equality, worsening labour conditions and civil rights.

“Unfortunately, the risk of riots and violence is likely to become more acute because of Covid-19,” says Michael Stone, a risk consultant for AGCS North America. 

“The measures governments have used to combat the coronavirus have had a significant socioeconomic impact and frustration is growing in large population segments. 

“The impact is particularly evident in the US, where the social safety net is not as comprehensive as elsewhere. People are concerned. Job, health and income security are all gone. They’re more likely to demonstrate and have a shorter fuse, so it isn’t surprising that anti-lockdown demonstrations can turn violent.”

CONSPIRACY THEORIES

The fact that the pandemic has enabled conspiracy theories to flourish among sections of the population also prepares the ground for future turbulence.

Bjoern Reusswig, Head of Global Political Violence and Hostile Environment Solutions at AGCS says this can even cause more physical damage in some cases.

“The number, scale and duration of riots and protests in the last two years is staggering and we have seen businesses suffering significant losses. 

“Civil unrest has soared, driven by protests on issues ranging from economic hardship to police brutality which has affected citizens around the world. 

“And the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is making things worse – with little sign of an end to the economic downturn in sight, the number of protests is likely to continue climbing,” says Reusswig. 

One theory that baselessly links 5G technology with the coronavirus resulted in a series of arson attacks on cell phone towers in the UK and other European countries.

The report, Global Risk Dialogue from Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) released this week says companies should prepare for the impact of political violence.

BAD FOR BUSINESS

But the greater inflictions could be the long term damages to the business environment for the retail sector in particular.

Hence, they have to plan for continuity and these plans need to address the risks of civil unrest and violence.

There are already examples of this increase in violent protests. 

In the report, the author’s mentions the anti-lockdown demonstrations in Germany, “Black Lives Matter” protests in the US or the strange arson attacks on cell phone towers in the UK.

For companies, the damages resulting from losses during riots, protests, vandalism are now among the main political risk exposure.

Findings of the Allianz Risk Barometer 2021 show the impact of the surge in violence against businesses.

In the annual global risk survey, ‘political risks and violence’ returned to the top 10 risks for the first time since 2018. 

This risk trend predicts the ranks of global protesters to swell over the next two years.

Verisk Maplecroft, a research firm specializing in global risk analytics, expects 75 countries to experience an increase in protests by late 2022. 

Of these, more than 30 – largely in Europe and the Americas – will likely see significant activity.

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