As the Arab Spring that erupted in Tunisia earlier this year continues to spread across the Middle East, Paul Davidson, Chairman and Chief Executive of Willis Financial Solutions reviews the impact of the uprising so far and provides his analysis of what we might expect as we enter 2012.
The Arab Spring has been the focal point for business and insurers this year–remaining on the front pages and in top headlines against the backdrop of a catastrophic year for natural disasters and the Euro zone.
No one could’ve possibly predicted that high food prices amidst a mire of poverty that triggered a Tunisian man to set himself alight in protest of the government would spark a nations-wide uprising that would spell the end of decades-long dictatorships in Egypt and Libya, and pose real threats to other previously secure regimes such as those in Syria and even Saudi Arabia.
Thus far, the Arab Spring has exposed the insurance market to USD$500 million in losses. On the other hand, the scale of reconstruction that will inevitably take place across the region represents huge opportunities. Still, as we look toward a new year, Davidson cautions that the only real trend we can count on remains one of volatility.
Tricia Holly Davis is Director of Communications for Willis Global and Director of Commercial Sustainability for Willis Group. Prior to joining Willis in London in 2010, she worked as business and finance journalist for the Sunday Times, with a focus on environmental and energy issues. Tricia is a member of the UN’s International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction Private Sector Advisory Group and sits on the U.S. Board of Directors of The Gold Standard, an international NGO responsible for certifying the effectiveness of environmental and social impact projects in developing countries.