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Second Annual Travelers Business Risk Index Reveals Increased Worries About Cyber Threats

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Cyber risks, medical cost inflation, and legal liability are among the top concerns for American businesses of all sizes, according to results from the second annual Travelers Business Risk Index. The survey polled more than 1,200 business decision makers across the country to better understand what they believe poses the biggest threat to their businesses.

“The top three concerns are indicative of the ever-evolving risks that pose threats to American businesses,” said Michael Klein, Executive Vice President and Co-President of Business Insurance at Travelers. “Yet, when it comes to managing risk, businesses are often least prepared for their most worrisome concerns. Fortunately, many of these risks can be mitigated and resources are available to help businesses of any size stay protected.”

Overall, the survey did suggest more optimism among business leaders than last year, as fewer respondents reported worrying about the economy and fewer believe the world is becoming riskier. The following summarizes the results of the 2015 Travelers Business Risk Index.

Cyber Risks
Cyber risks ranked as the second biggest concern for all businesses, up from fifth last year. Businesses are most concerned about malicious and criminal attacks (55 percent), followed by human error (24 percent), and system glitches (21 percent).

Among the types of malicious attacks most worrisome to businesses:

  • 57 percent of respondents worry most about having their computers or data systems infected with a virus;
  • 51 percent worry someone could gain access to their banking accounts or financial control systems; and
  • 50 percent worry about a security breach or someone hacking into their computer systems.

Medical Cost Inflation
More respondents (60 percent) are worried about medical cost inflation than any of the other risks in the 2015 Travelers Business Risk Index. While many business decision makers are concerned with this issue, it was less of a concern compared with last year (60 percent in 2015 versus 67 percent in 2014). Additionally, 33 percent of respondents said that medical cost inflation is among the risks they are least prepared to manage.

Legal Liability
Legal liability-related risks continue to be another significant source of concern for business decision makers, with 56 percent of respondents reporting that they worry about it.

  • Professional mistakes, errors, and omissions are among the biggest concerns, worrying 42 percent of respondents.
  • Employee lawsuits for discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination concern 34 percent of respondents.
  • 33 percent of respondents worry about both customer slips and falls and driving accidents caused by employees.

Global/Political Conflict
One of the most significant increases in concerns among business leaders relates to global/political conflict. About one-third of those surveyed (32 percent) worry about global/political conflict, which is eight percentage points higher than in 2014. One-quarter of decision makers surveyed said political unrest is a larger concern today than it was five to 10 years ago, up four percentage points from 2014.

More than half (52 percent) of the respondents believe severe weather has become more frequent, but only 38 percent believe that is the case for their area, and even fewer (32 percent) believe it has increased the likelihood of damage to their business. The Northeast is the only exception, with 51 percent believing severe weather is more frequent in their area. Only 41 percent of respondents have a business disaster recovery plan in place to help rebound after a disaster.

Risk Management
Few respondents consider risk management a strategic priority. Decision makers at small businesses (11 percent) were least likely to name risk management as a strategic priority or an important management activity, compared with medium-sized (20 percent) and large (36 percent) companies.

For full results, including industry-specific information, please visit

About the Survey
Hart Research conducted a national online survey of 1,210 business decision makers from February 18, 2015 to March 4, 2015. Small businesses are defined as those having 2-49 employees, mid-sized businesses as having 50-999 employees and large businesses as having 1,000+ employees. The survey was commissioned by Travelers and has a statistical margin of error of +/- 3.0 percentage points.

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 $27 billion in 2014. For more information, visit

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