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Axa report flags ‘polycrisis’ risk landscape  

Axa’s annual risk report has warned the world faces a period of “polycrisis” as high-profile risks, such as climate change and technology concerns, “no longer follow one another but are happening at the same time”.  

The Future Risks Report flags climate change, cyber security risks and geopolitical instabilities as the top three risks ranked by 3500 experts.   

Axa says experts also consider artificial intelligence as a “top-tier concern”, rising from 14th to the 4th highest-ranked risk, with 64% of respondents believing that current AI research should be halted.  

The report also notes findings from a representative sample of the general population, totalling 20,000 respondents, who placed climate change, pandemic and infectious diseases and cyber security as their top risks.   

“This year, more than ever, our survey results map out the contours of a world in “polycrisis” where risks are now interconnected,” Axa CEO Thomas Buberl said.  

“Digital transformation, global warming and geopolitical fractures are combining to create a permanent process of mutation in our economies and societies.”   

Despite the increased feeling of vulnerability, confidence levels in scientists remain high among experts and the population, reported at 84% and 70% respectively, with both respondent groups also conveying higher confidence in companies.  

The report found that 93% of experts and 74% of the population believe that insurers play an important role in limiting the impact of future risks, an increase from 89% and 69% last year.   

“Despite the scale of the challenges, we do not want to see the future as a risk,” Mr Buberl said.  

“To achieve this, we need to build on the general population’s growing confidence in scientists – and therefore in progress and science – and in businesses, particularly insurance, which 3 out of 4 of those questioned considered to be capable of limiting the impact of future risks.”  

Axa France CEO Guillaume Borie says results showcasing increasing confidence and trust from the public provide companies not only a valuable boost in efforts to reduce risks but also an obligation to meet expectations.     

“A large majority feel that companies in general, and insurers in particular, have an important role to play in limiting these risks,” Mr Borie said.  

“This trust obliges us, and indeed encourages us, to go beyond simply pooling risks, and to press ahead with implementing practically effective solutions for preventing them. 

“This is particularly true for us as the leading insurer of businesses and SMEs, which often find themselves at the intersections of risks.”  

Click here for the full report.