Climate change knocked off top spot in AXA’s annual Future Risks report


Climate change has fallen to third place in the US and Asia in AXA's annual ranking of the ten major emerging risks, contained in the seventh edition of its Future Risks Report. 

Climate change remains the number one risk in Europe, according to AXA’s report, but has dropped down the list elsewhere, with pandemics and infectious diseases shooting up the list to first, from eighth place last year. 

The drop for climate change is particularly marked in North America, AXA said, where the share of experts who consider this risk major has fallen from 71 percent in 2019 to 46 percent in 2020. 

This pushed climate change-related risk down to second overall, having held the top spot for years. 

AXA’s Future Risks Report is a global study that measures and ranks changes in the perception of emerging risks by a panel of risk management experts and the general public, on the basis of more than over 20,000 interviews.

Cybersecurity risk ranked third among AXA’s risks, having gained increased prominence in 2020 in part due to the widespread adoption of technology and the explosion of cyberattacks during lockdown. 

“In particular, the perception of cyber warfare risk has increased,” AXA said. “It is seen as the main security threat by 47 percent of experts, compared to 37 percent last year.” 

The risk of shutdown of essential services and critical infrastructure following a cyberattack has also increased by seven points to 51 percent. 

Geopolitical risks occupy fourth place, with respondents perceiving a significant increase in the risk of digital warfare between nations. The risk of social unrest placed fifth in AXA’s list. 

Thomas Buberl, chief executive officer at AXA, said the increased focus on health concerns is a positive shift. “We have considered it underestimated for years,” he said. “However, this must not affect the fight against climate change, which remains the most significant and pressing challenge of our time.” 

The report continues to underline the growing interconnection of risks, Buberl added, “calling for collective and concerted solutions to strengthen the resilience of our economies and societies.”

The Future Risks Report was conducted in partnership with research institute IPSOS and geopolitical analysis consultancy Eurasia Group. 

Bermuda:Re+ILS has been conducting its own survey of readers to better understand their views about climate change, among other topics. To take part in this survey please click here

AXA, Climate change, Pandemics, Cyber, Thomas Buberl, Future Risk Report

Bermuda Re