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More Than Half of Americans Believe World is Getting Riskier According to Travelers Consumer Risk Index

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For the second consecutive year, the Travelers Consumer Risk Index has found one in four U.S. consumers believe that today’s world is very risky, with six in 10 respondents reporting their feeling that the world is growing riskier. This annual Travelers survey, which measures Americans’ general perception of risk in daily life, was conducted by Hart Research in late-July.

Severe weather, personal privacy loss/identity theft and distracted driving were found to be among the major concerns for the second year. One third of Millennials (defined in the survey as 18- to 34-year-olds) feel their overall risk level is low compared to older age groups.

The study also found that more Americans are preparing for uncertainty and are being proactive in managing their risk. When asked about steps they are taking to mitigate risk, 85 percent of respondents conduct safety checks on their car, 82 percent of respondents have installed smoke detectors in their home and 64 percent indicated they had stored food and water in their home to prepare for extreme weather. Millennials are less likely than other age groups to have a clear plan for what to do before and after an extreme weather event.

“We developed the Travelers Consumer Risk Index to identify people’s daily concerns and encourage them to find ways to manage risk,” said Patrick Gee, Senior Vice President, Claim at Travelers. “We expected to see many of these risks among the top concerns for consumers. What’s interesting is the disparity between the perception of risk and the mindset that ‘it can’t happen to me’ when it comes to issues such as distracted driving and severe weather.”

Severe Weather
Nearly two-thirds, or 64 percent, of respondents say they perceive severe weather to be happening with more frequency in the U.S. Only 39 percent, however, feel that severe weather is becoming more frequent in their own region. Only 34 percent think that severe weather increases the likelihood of damage to their own property.

Survey results indicate a notable change in perception of the frequency of severe weather for individuals from the Northeast, which was heavily impacted by storms last winter. Fifty-five percent of respondents living in the Northeast say they feel severe weather is becoming more frequent in their local area, up from 36 percent last year. This is the biggest increase of any region when it comes to the perception of severe weather.

Personal Privacy Loss/Identity Theft
The loss of personal privacy is one of the top concerns for consumers, with 82 percent reporting some level of worry about this risk. In fact, the same percentage of consumers surveyed worry about the loss of personal privacy as much as they do about the risk of a serious health problem.

When asked specifically about identity theft, consumers seem to be less concerned about it as compared to a year ago. In this year’s survey, 23 percent reported worrying a great deal about this risk compared to 31 percent last year, despite recent headlines about data breaches.

In general, Millennials are less concerned with computer and technology risks and the loss of personal privacy. About half, 53 percent, of Millennials surveyed do not worry at all about computer and technology risks, compared to 34 percent of other age groups.

Distracted Driving
Results indicated that survey respondents are concerned with other people’s distracted driving more than their own. Eighty-nine percent of survey participants believe that getting into an auto accident due to others’ distracted driving is a concern, yet 51 percent of respondents are not concerned at all about getting into an auto accident due to their own distraction. One in five respondents are not concerned at all about the 16 to 21-year old drivers in their household getting into an auto accident due to their own distracted driving.

Insurance Matters
When it comes to insurance, consumers that have both home and auto insurance mostly feel they are well covered. Sixty-nine percent of respondents feel they are extremely or very well covered by their insurance policies. Of those surveyed, 64 percent review their insurance every year and 35 percent talk to their insurance agent to get information about their insurance policies. Fifty-one percent of respondents said they would spend more time evaluating home insurance needs when asked if they had to insure both a home and an automobile.

Through its Prepare and Prevent website, Travelers helps consumers identify risks and take the necessary steps to help prevent them with safety and risk management tips for your auto, home and business. Through its public policy division, the Travelers Institute, the company has launched the Consumer Insurance Education symposia series that seeks to help individuals understand how insurance works so they can better protect their loved ones and assets. The series is part of a broader company-wide consumer education program that leverages Travelers’ 160-year risk management expertise.

About the Survey
Hart Research conducted a national phone survey of 801 adults from July 21, 2014, to July 28, 2014. The survey was commissioned by Travelers and has a statistical margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. Read the full report here https://www.travelers.com/prepare-prevent/risk-index/index.aspx.

About Travelers
The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Travelers has approximately 30,000 employees and generated revenues of approximately $26 billion in 2013. For more information, visit www.travelers.com.

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