News & Media

Friday, April 18, 2014

[INDUSTRY NEWS] Terrorism in North Africa

Terrorist attacks and acts of war are becoming increasingly common across the world. Whether domestic or international, these incidents pose a serious security risk to expatriates living and working outside their home country.

If you are heading overseas soon, you should consider comprehensive international war and terrorism insurance coverage. This type of indemnification is ideal to help mitigate the financial impact of such a violent act, and without it, you could be exposed to substantial monetary harm. In addition to insurance, it is also important to understand the terrorism hot spots that have been appearing around the globe. While some of the most dangerous locations are in the Middle East, incidents of terrorism could also occur in other regions.

Surge in violence reported in Northern Africa
Today, one of the most active hotbeds for terrorist activity is a stretch of land spanning the width of Northern Africa, called the Sahel region. This zone stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, and encompasses many countries, including Senegal, Mali, Algeria, Niger, Cameroon and Sudan. Currently, Africa's Sahel has also come under international scrutiny thanks to increased outbreaks of violence, terrorism and religious extremism.

According to media outlet Voice of America, a number of factors have contributed to the rise in terrorist attacks reported in the Sahel region over the past decade. These include a proliferation in the number of extremist organizations, changing political and economic conditions and poor education, among others.

"It is clear that an arc of instability is emerging across Africa's Sahel which has opened a path for al-Qaida to shift its center of gravity from Afghanistan and Pakistan to a new sanctuary and has created a potential launching pad much closer to US and European shores," Yonah Alexander, senior fellow at Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, outlined in his annual report on terrorism in North Africa.

In order to combat these rising dangers, Voice of America stressed the importance of regional and international cooperation. Governments from across the world should coordinate with African nations to improve security, and it may take a broad strategy and a comprehensive approach to make Africa's Sahel region safer.

Be prepared in case of attack
While governments can take measures to decrease the threat of terrorism, you should still be prepared in case an attack does occur. Even in low-risk countries incidents are possible, so it is important to be ready wherever you end up in the world, including taking out an international war and terrorism insurance policy.

According to U.K.'s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, terrorist attacks can include suicide operations, hijackings, bombings, shootings and the use of chemical or biological weapons, among others. Due to the wide range of potential attacks, you must take steps to mitigate your risk. Firstly, be aware of any changes in security levels in your current country. Increases in terrorist activity are often announced by the government. As an added layer of precaution, make sure you also follow along to current news in both the country and the region.

In addition to these steps, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommended that you remain vigilant in all public areas, especially those frequented by tourists, expats and Westerners. For example, common terrorist targets include hotels, restaurants, bars and local businesses. Better yet, take steps to vary your routine. Falling into a pattern could further expose you to danger. Anything suspicious you notice while in public should immediately be reported to the authorities.

Above all else, make sure you have the appropriate insurance coverage in place. An international war and terrorism insurance policy can provide financial relief following an attack, wherever you are in the world. Paying attention to your surroundings and being aware of current trends will also help you stay safe while abroad.

Clements Worldwide has over 60 years of experiencing helping expats and international organizations with war and terrorism insurance. Call us at 202 872 0060 or email to learn more. 

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