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Cyber Attacks and Data Breach Identified as Top Concern in Canada in Latest Aon Client Study

TORONTO, Nov. 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm, has announced the results of its 2021 Global Risk Management Survey, which gathers input from thousands of risk managers across 60 countries/territories and 16 industries every two years to identify key risks and challenges their organizations are facing. The past two years have proved to be incredibly volatile, with the global COVID-19 pandemic having had a ripple effect across other types of risk, such as heightened awareness of reputation and cyber, as long-tail risks have become increasingly important to manage.

The 2021 edition surveyed more than 2,300 respondents in 60 countries/territories across 16 industries at both public and private companies. With more emphasis and reliance on technology, cyber risk topped the list as the number one current and predicted future risk globally, its highest rank since the inception of the survey. Cyber was also cited in the top 10 list of risks across each region, industry and respondent type. In Canada, cyber attacks/data breach topped the list.

The top 10 risks also strongly reflect the current landscape, namely COVID-19 and its impact on organizations. Amidst a backdrop of challenging market conditions, this is testing the ability of firms to manage volatility and make better decisions. Organizations are shifting their focus from event-based to impact-based risk assessments: for example, business interruption was once seen as a linear risk, but the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how it can affect multiple industries and companies simultaneously and globally.

"The world is a more volatile place, and the importance of better decision making has never been greater," said Joe Peiser, Commercial Risk Leader for North America, Aon. "Long-tail risks are not single events. They're innately interconnected, as we've seen with the COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changing the way the world works, revealing new risks and re-ordering priorities in the C-suite. A preoccupation with managing these immediate risks may be compromising firms' ability to invest in the risks of tomorrow."

Exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlighting the interconnectivity of risk, the top 10 Canadian risks according to the 2021 Global Risk Management Survey are:

1.      Cyber Attacks/Data Breach
2.      Economic Slowdown/Slow Recovery
3.      Regulatory/Legislative Changes
4.      Commodity Price Risk/Scarcity of Materials
5.      Damage to Reputation/Brand
6.      Failure to Attract or Retain Top Talent
7.      Business Interruption
8.      Pandemic Risk/Health Crises
9.      Increasing Competition
10.   Supply Chain/Distribution Failure and Failure to Innovate/Meet Customer Needs

"Historically, risk managers and insurers have learned and made decisions by analyzing data from loss events that have occurred. This approach must evolve, and priorities and approaches need to change, in order to proactively manage the uncertainties of potential emerging exposures such as complex supply chains; we can't rely solely on the past to inform future risks," said Bill Besse, Chief Client Officer, Commercial Risk Solutions in Canada for Aon. "Several of the top risks identified in this year's survey highlight four key areas of client need we've identified, particularly unmet needs in the form of long-tail risks that are no longer on the horizon. Those risks are on our doorstep. There is an increasing realization of the need to address these 'known unknowns.' As we face unprecedented events, the challenge will be how to best develop solutions to properly prepare for and manage through them."

The report highlights the top 10 risks by industry and region, as well as risk readiness, associated losses and mitigation actions for each of the top 10 risks. In addition, the report includes the predicted top 10 risks in the next three years and Aon's analysis of underrated risks. The top 10 future risks in Canada are similar to the top 10 current risks, with three new risks identified for the next three years:

1.      Cyber Attacks/Data Breach
2.      Economic Slowdown/Slow Recovery
3.      Commodity Price Risk/Scarcity of Materials
4.      Damage to Reputation/Brand
5.      Aging Workforce & Related Health Issues
6.      Failure to Attract or Retain Top Talent
7.      Business Interruption
8.      Capital Availability
9.      Failure to Innovate/Meet Customer Needs
10.   Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)/Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

Conducted every two years since 2007, Aon's Global Risk Management Survey provides data and insights to enable better decision making around risk in an increasingly volatile and complex business environment. The full report is available here.   

About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE: AON) exists to shape decisions for the better — to protect and enrich the lives of people around the world. Our colleagues provide our clients in over 120 countries with advice and solutions that give them the clarity and confidence to make better decisions to protect and grow their business. 

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