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Survey Report

Insurance Marketplace Realities 2024Spring Update – Special contingency risks: Kidnap and ransom

May 8, 2024

The special risks insurance markets have almost uniformly either restricted or excluded coverage for exposures in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.
Credit and Political Risk|Financial, Executive and Professional Risks (FINEX)
Rate predictions: Special contingency risks – Kidnap and ransom
  Trend Range
Special contingency risks Neutral Decrease Increase (flat purple line, arrow pointing up and down) +5% to +10%
  • Coverage restrictions for high-risk territories, such as Haiti and Israel, are selectively applied by a few insurance markets, but we could expect to see these positions shift in line with the security developments in the countries concerned.
  • The number of kidnap incidents has returned to pre-COVID levels in several countries, notably Colombia, Mexico and Nigeria.
  • Noticeable have been the increase in threats reported, specifically in North America and security evacuations out of historically high risk world regions as well as from recent conflict flashpoints — special crime policies can cover both perils under selected endorsements.
  • Moreover, criminals have continued to invest in schemes, such as virtual kidnappings (an alleged kidnap has occurred with a quick ransom), to exploit the current environment and maintain a cashflow to fund further illicit operations.
  • Cyber extortion has also continued unabated, as many technology-related crimes are not impacted by lockdowns or reductions in social and business interaction. Indeed, the steep rise in people working from home has presented cyber criminals with a wider range of softer targets.

Insurers are maintaining coverage restrictions or exclusions for Russia, Ukraine and Belarus

  • As a result of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the imposition of sanctions against Russia and against certain elements in Belarus and parts of Ukraine, insurers have introduced coverage restrictions and exclusions.
  • The restrictions and exclusions apply to programs with historical, actual or anticipated employee headcount or travel exposure in/to those countries.
  • The scope of coverage exclusions has varied by insurers, ranging from restrictions such as sub-limits to blanket exclusions across the entire program or exclusions under selected endorsements only.

Interest in active assailant coverage is growing

  • The insurance market continues to develop and promote policies that respond to a broader range of security-related perils.
  • We have seen special crime insurers, as well as other specialty insurers, show greater interest in active assailant coverage and offer increasingly customized solutions (either via endorsement or stand-alone policies) with a focus on post-incident crisis management support, legal liability, business interruption (both physical and non-physical damage) and indemnification of a variety of incident-related expenses.
  • These solutions go beyond traditional terrorism and/or political violence coverage and are increasingly being used to complement traditional policies.

U.S. active assailant: pricing, terms and conditions

  • Rates are general unaffected by the wider political violence market harding but are increasing in response to the change in risk environment, albeit slower than in 2023.
    • +5% to +10% where liability coverage is excluded.
    • +7.5% to +20% average with liability coverage: Some policies subject to complete re-rerating if insurers deem previous pricing doesn’t meet rate adequacy requirements.
  • Market capacity and participants (more than 30 insurers) are relatively static overall. However, a number of insurers are showing a greater active involvement toward product development and participation than in previous years.
    • Capacity for programs, including liability coverage, remains significantly more cautious than those without, but is still generally available.
  • Market wordings continue to provide coverage wider than the metrics most law enforcement or intelligence sources track incidents by. Coverage provided with lower “minimum victims” trigger requirements and following attack methodologies with other weapons than just firearms.


Willis Towers Watson hopes you found the general information provided in this publication informative and helpful. The information contained herein is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with your own legal advisors. In the event you would like more information regarding your insurance coverage, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. In North America, Willis Towers Watson offers insurance products through licensed entities, including Willis Towers Watson Northeast, Inc. (in the United States) and Willis Canada Inc. (in Canada).

Each applicable policy of insurance must be reviewed to determine the extent, if any, of coverage for losses relating to the Ukraine crisis. Coverage may vary depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances. For global client programs it is critical to consider all local operations and how policies may or may not include coverage relating to the Ukraine crisis. The information contained herein is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with your own legal and/or other professional advisors. Some of the information in this publication may be compiled by third-party sources we consider reliable; however, we do not guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of such information. We assume no duty in contract, tort or otherwise in connection with this publication and expressly disclaim, to the fullest extent permitted by law, any liability in connection with this publication. Willis Towers Watson offers insurance-related services through its appropriately licensed entities in each jurisdiction in which it operates. The Ukraine crisis is a rapidly evolving situation and changes are occurring frequently. Willis Towers Watson does not undertake to update the information included herein after the date of publication. Accordingly, readers should be aware that certain content may have changed since the date of this publication. Please reach out to the author or your Willis Towers Watson contact for more information.


Philipp Seel
Director, Head of Special Risks North America
Special Contingency Risks, Inc.

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