Business and consumer risk: The Travelers Risk Index 2016

By Dale Benton
Consumers and business leaders in America are most concerned about cyber threats, a changing workforce and severe weather, thats according to the 2016 T...

Consumers and business leaders in America are most concerned about cyber threats, a changing workforce and severe weather, that’s according to the 2016 Travelers Risk Index.

Launched in 2013, the Travelers Risk Index is an annual study to assess Americans’ perception about risk. The index surveyed 1,001 consumers between the ages of 18 and 69 as well as 1,202 business owners and decision makers.

Not to stop there, of those business owners and decision makers, 493 were small business, 453 midsixed business and 256 large business.

The survey included 11 specific industry sectors.

Here we take a look at some of the key figures to come out of the 2016 Travelers Risk Index:

The threat of cyber attacks

Among those asked, 54 percent worry “some or a great deal” about technology-related cyber risks, whereas 51 percent of consumers share this concern.

Looking closer at consumers, the index reveals that more women worry about cyber risks, specifically the threat of accounts being hacked by men. 68 percent in fact, whereas only 56 percent of men share the same concern.

Feeling confident behind the wheel

More than nine in 10 consumers believe that distracted driving is a top concern. To mirror that, one third of businesses in the survey highlighted it as a worry to them. For businesses, interestingly, 65 percent of them have employees who use a personal car for business purposes.

Changing of the guard

The workforces of today, and tomorrow, are changing. Whether it’s down to demographic changes, technological innovation or the impacts of the global economy, 45 percent of business leaders and consumers are concerned by a changing workforce. 49 percent of all businesses actually listed a changing workforce as the most worrisome trend, while 50 percent are concerned about attracting and retaining talent and skilled staff.

Consumers, on the other hand, worry about keeping pace with new workforce requirements and jobs moving overseas. 27 percent in fact.

A changing workforce is the highest concern among the ages 18-39 (32 percent) and lowest among those ages 55-69 (19 percent)

One might suggest that the last figure is rather unsurprising.

Tightening of the purse strings

Financial concerns worry everyone. No need to check the figures on that.

But as we are looking at the index, we may as well.

70 percent of consumers worry some or a great deal about financial concerns, such as unemployment and job security as well as financial hardship and the economy.

Looking at it from a business perspective, businesses worry mostly about medical cost inflation and employee benefit cost.

Always take the weather with you

Climate volatility and severe weather is a big concern for businesses and consumers, noting that severe weather is happening more often and becoming more and more disruptive. Business interruption, created through severe weather, is a concern shared by 40 percent of all business.

For consumers, 61 percent believe that severe weather is becoming more frequent across the country, with 39 percent believing that damage to property, homes or automobiles is more likely.

Looking to the future, the top trends believed to pose the greatest risk over the next five years are:

  • Changing workforce – getting old and replaced by millennials resulting in a changing workforce skill availability
  • Technological change – self-explanatory really, but increased connectivity and IoT, automation
  • Empowered customers – increased access to data and information from customers and the rising expectations of speed, convenience and customisation from business
  • E-business – increasing use of digital, including mobile platforms, to conduct commerce
  • Energy dynamics – energy costs fluctuating, renewable energy and the emergence of energy sources
  • Sharing economy – the emergence of businesses such as Uber, Airbnb and Zipcar

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