Economic Slowdown, Regulatory Changes, Business Interruption Top Global Business Risks, Says Aon

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Global risk management survey highlights top risks by region and industry

LONDON and CHICAGO, April 20 2009 — Aon Corporation, the leading provider of global risk management and consulting services, today announced the findings of its 2009 Global Risk Management Survey. Respondents cited the current economic slowdown, regulatory and legislative changes, and business interruption as their top risks.

The biennial analysis is based on responses from 551 organizations in 40 countries. The findings are representative of a broad range of industry sectors around the globe and presented in four key components:

  • Top Ten Risks
  • Overall risk preparedness
  • Business losses related to risk
  • Key business topics/functions

“This survey helps our clients stay abreast of emerging issues and learn how peers and competitors are managing risks, overcoming challenges and capturing opportunities in order to achieve sustainable growth, continuity and profitability,” said Steve McGill, chairman and CEO of Aon Risk Services. “One of the benefits of having an unmatched global network is the ability to leverage Aon’s size and scope to create the industry’s most comprehensive data reports and better serve our clients.”

2009 Aon Global Risk Management Survey – Top Ten Risks

Ranking Risk Change in ranking from 2007 Reported readiness by respondents
1 Economic slowdown +7 60%
2 Regulatory/legislative changes +4 65%
3 Business interruption -1 79%
4 Increasing competition New 71%
5 Commodity price risk New 77%
6 Damage to reputation -5 58%
7 Cash flow/liquidity risk New 75%
8 Distribution or supply chain failure -4 70%
9 Third party liability -6 81%
10 Failure to attract or retain top talent -3 68%

In addition to the macro list provided above, the Global Risk Management Survey breaks out the Top Ten Risks by region and identifies the Top Three Risks by industry.

Compared to findings in 2007, most organizations have increased their overall risk preparedness. However, less than half of survey respondents report they are tracking and managing all components of their total cost of insurable risk. More importantly, for three of the Top Ten Risks (economic slowdown, damage to reputation and regulatory/legislative changes), less than two thirds of respondents indicate they have formally reviewed the risk or have a plan in place.

The 2009 Aon survey indicates that virtually no company, industry or country is immune to today’s unprecedented period of economic unrest. While reputation risk has fallen from its top position in the firm’s 2007 survey, the importance of this threat is not diminished. Reputation risks impact the public’s perception of the quality, integrity and intention of an organization, influence a partner or customer’s decision to do business with a firm and may affect a government or regulator’s decision to allow a company’s actions. Regulations and legislation are now perceived as the second greatest risk factors facing business, according to the Aon survey. While it remains unclear as to whether more stringent regulations are expected to expand to the majority of industry sectors, an increase in regulation within the financial sector is widely anticipated. For multinational organizations, the cost, quantity and complexity of regulations presents serious compliance challenges.

“While these complex risks carry with them a degree of unpredictability that may impact an entire enterprise, they are in fact manageable,” said Stephen Cross, CEO of Aon Global Risk Consulting. “Those organizations prepared to capture opportunity will lead the way out of the economic downturn with robust and proven risk management strategies in place, and clear objectives set for future success.”


Aon Risk Services first introduced the Global Risk Management Survey in 2007. The 2009 report captures the perspectives of the world’s leading risk professionals. The web-based survey addressed both qualitative and quantitative risk issues. Risk managers, CROs, CFOs, treasurers and others provided feedback and insight on their insurance and risk management choices, interests and concerns. All responses for individual organizations are held confidential; only the consolidated data was incorporated into the report’s findings. Percentages for some of the responses may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding or respondents’ ability to select more than one answer.

For more information and to register for your copy of the survey, visit

About Aon

Aon Corporation is the leading global provider of risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human capital consulting. Through its more than 37,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon readily delivers distinctive client value via innovative and effective risk management and workforce productivity solutions. Aon’s industry-leading global resources and technical expertise are delivered locally through more than 500 offices in more than 120 countries. Named the world’s best broker by Euromoney magazine’s 2008 and 2009 Insurance Survey, Aon also ranked highest on Business Insurance’s listing of the world’s largest insurance brokers based on commercial retail, wholesale, reinsurance and personal lines brokerage revenues in 2008. A.M. Best deemed Aon the number one insurance broker based on brokerage revenues in 2007 and 2008, and Aon was voted best insurance intermediary, best reinsurance intermediary and best employee benefits consulting firm in 2007 and 2008 by the readers of Business Insurance. For more information on Aon, log onto