This week I had the pleasure of appearing on a panel of experts at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, focusing on the changing nature of the terrorist threat and the challenges this poses for the UK’s terrorism preparedness.
The packed marquee and an audience of key journalists, security experts, MPs and stakeholders showed just how topical this issue is, and demonstrated the wide variety of people that can bring expertise to the table as we seek solutions to the UK’s resilience challenges.
At Pool Re, we recognise that the evolving terrorist threat has significant implications, not only for government and security services, but also for the private sector. Although we have been providing terrorism reinsurance cover through our partnership with the UK Government for over 20 years, the threat that the UK faces today is very different from that which our model was originally created for. Therefore, we need to be as flexible in our protection for UK businesses as those who seek to perpetrate terrorist attacks are in their aggression.
As part of an engaging discussion in Birmingham, I spoke about how it is not just the major insurers that need to consider, and offer, terrorism insurance. The bars and cafes that were the targets of the November 2015 attacks in Paris show that terrorism insurance needs to be accessible for all businesses, large and small, and relevant to both their needs and the economic peril they face.
I was particularly interested to hear the perspective from the UK Government that was provided by Brandon Lewis MP, Minister of State at the Home Office, who spoke about the resilience, structure and intelligence triangle which ensures that, in the highly likely event of a terrorist attack on UK soil, we are in a position to deal with its aftermath.
The evolving challenge posed to the UK’s resilience was also covered in detail by Duncan Gardham, a security commentator and fellow member of the panel. His fascinating insight on IS, and how the number of people being radicalised has risen enormously, increasing the probability of “lone wolf” attacks, was both poignant and sobering, and further underlined the need for the UK to be as prepared as possible.
The level of understanding and determination on show at the event was palpable and a brilliant example of what can be achieved when government, commentators, stakeholders and the private sector come together to work towards the common goal of increasing the UK’s resilience. At a time when the UK threat level remains high, this collective approach is more important than ever.