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New terror threats put more UK businesses in firing line

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Evolving terrorist methods are exposing more businesses to economic loss, according to UK reinsurer Pool Re.

Militants no longer target symbolic buildings or monuments but instead aim for mass casualties, the terrorism pool says.

Terrorist groups encourage attacks using simple methods, such as stabbings and car rammings. This means property is no longer the primary exposure.

A much wider range of businesses face economic losses because distance from symbolic targets is no protection, Pool Re says.

About 40% of terrorist attacks in Europe since 2014 have occurred in areas with populations of fewer than 1 million people, it says.

Nearby businesses are likely to be cut off by wide police cordons lasting for days. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable, with cash flow interrupted and stock perishing.

Disruption to supply chains and reduced foot traffic can also have an impact.

The 2016 Brussels airport bombing resulted in losses of €200 million ($319.67 million), but property damage accounted for only €3 million ($4.8 million).

Pool Re is extending its coverage to non-damage business interruption losses following a change to legislation in Parliament.

Its old insurance methodology was based on high-impact attacks against high profile targets.

Former UK head of counterterrorism policing Mark Rowley says terrorist methodologies are less predictable and evolving rapidly. Vigilance and resilience are increasingly important, along with physical protective measures such as bollards.