As we head closer to the holiday season, the threat of terrorism in the UK grows. Following a spate of attacks in Europe, UK alert levels have been upgraded to ‘severe’. Protect yourself and your business with Towergate’s customised terrorism insurance products.
Recent attacks in Europe
The threat of terrorism is a constant issue but has again heightened following a series of recent attacks in Europe. Last month, a teacher was targeted in the streets of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, a suburb of Paris. Two weeks ago, three people were killed in a knife assault in Nice.
Then, last Monday, a shooting in Vienna resulted in the death of four people and the wounding of fifteen others. This occurred just hours before a coronavirus lockdown was due to start, while crowds were enjoying the last night of open bars and restaurants. The assailant was eventually shot and killed by the police.
Holiday season threats and the impact of COVID-19
Terrorist attacks are very common during the holiday season. Notably because of an increase in crowds of people for festivals, celebrations, shopping and religious gatherings.
Furthermore, the implications of the coronavirus may have a direct impact on the threat of terrorism. As per the Vienna incident, assailants may see future lockdowns as an opportunity to target large crowds of people before they retreat to a more solitary lifestyle. Times of self-isolation, doubt and depression can heighten feelings of disenfranchisement. Extremists may also look to take advantage of the fear and disruption experienced by vulnerable potential recruits.
UK threat alert levels raised
The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre five threat levels are as follows:
- Low - an attack is highly unlikely
- Moderate - an attack is possible but not likely
- Substantial - an attack is likely
- Severe - an attack is highly likely
- Critical - an attack is highly likely in the near future
Following the attacks in Europe, Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has increased the terrorism alert level from ‘substantial’ to ‘severe’. While this is largely a precautionary measure, the compounded impact of the holiday season and COVID-19 warrants a vigilant approach. She added that people should report any suspicious activity and that they will see “more visible policing around the country”. Patel also stated that people should be on alert but not alarmed. There is currently no specific intelligence that would indicate an imminent attack.
Why business owners need to consider terrorism insurance
As terrorists tend to target large gatherings of people, city centres, shops, restaurants, bars and other businesses, companies are most at risk. Besides the immediate threat of personal injury (or even death), business owners have a number of other factors to consider. These include;
- The safety of customers and employees
- Increased protocols as a result of the threat of terrorism (e.g. extra security)
- Damage to property/premises as a result of an attack
- Damage to contents, stock, machinery and other items
- Loss of income due to business interruption
- Loss of business due to reputational damage and/or ‘loss of attraction’