Daily Market Update - July 31, 2014

​A time to assess the risk of widespread illness as Ebola grabs the headlines … top government official says cyber crime is “not going away”… Stark warnings of climate change impact in our neighbourhoods… and can driverless cars make for safer roads?

Risk Management News


World assesses the risk of Ebola virus
The current outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa has brought ‘risk’ into the headlines around the world as officials act quickly to calm fears in their respective nations. The World Health Organization has issued a risk assessment aimed at health authorities and the transport industry, noting that the risk to business or leisure travellers is “extremely low” as the disease is transmitted through direct contact with a patient with symptoms or body fluids for example. Those who may be infected but not showing symptoms do not present a risk. For health workers and the transport industry there is a greater risk and the WHO recommends strict procedures when dealing with a suspected case. While the risk of outbreaks in other countries appears to be low, the current outbreak highlights the need for businesses to be prepared for the potential disruption to business from widespread illness.
Cyber threat “not going away” says law official
The threat of cyber crime is “real, it is here and it is not going away” – the words of assistant U.S. attorney general for national security, John Carlin speaking in Pittsburgh yesterday. Carlin said that cyber criminals want to steal what we’ve worked so hard to build, something that harms American competitiveness. On a tour of a non-profit group that helps government, academics and business to work better on combating cyber crime Mr Carlin said this kind of collaboration is a “model that works” and urged more unified efforts. Read the full story.
Climate change in our neighbourhoods
Although the unusual variations in our weather in recent years seems to provide some evidence, many people still believe that climate change is only a problem at the polar ice caps or Africa. A new report though highlights the impact of climate change in Los Angeles and carries some stark warnings. One piece of analysis from UCLA climate change expert Alex Hall predicts temperature rises of 4-5 degrees in the next thirty years and the number of days with temperatures above 95 degrees is set to triple. Of course there is a risk to health, but also to the operational functions of business with many questions to be asked in assessments; how will the workforce be affected? Will equipment function at extreme temperatures? How it will affect the supply chain? The list goes on. Read the full story.
Driverless cars – could they cut the risk on our roads?
It’s no longer the stuff of science fiction; the age of the driverless car is approaching. This week the UK government announced it was considering the possibility of allowing driverless cars onto the country’s roads next year. The prospect raises many questions about safety and poses new challenges for the insurance industry. James Dalton is the head of motor at the Association of British Insurers and is largely optimistic: “The insurance industry is working with Government, vehicle manufacturers, regulators, the legal community and through the industry’s research and repair centre on this potentially life-changing and life-saving technology. Although further research needs to be carried out, with human error accounting for around 90% of road accidents, the potential safety implications of autonomous technology are significant.”

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