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Emotions Flair: 
Unrest and commotion in a bumper election year

Fuelled by social media and misinformation, 2024 could provide a barometer on the creeping political polarisation apparent, to varying degrees, across the globe. The left and right are moving further apart, and their supporters are increasingly disinclined to see the other side’s point of view. As these groups challenge each other at the polling booths, extreme elements may seek to use violence to influence, intimidate, or lash out if the results do not go their way. Against this, the threat of political violence, already high, becomes more pronounced.

Right now, global business leaders are feeling concerned about their current operating environment, with 36% reporting they now operate in a high-risk environment, up from 31% last year. This spike reflects the volatile macroeconomic and geopolitical environment, demonstrating the need for businesses of all sizes to increase their preparedness for risk. Their fears are not misplaced, as recent years have seen political violence break out around polarised elections.

Global leaders concerned about the current operating environment

Looking to the past to predict the future

While it is difficult to predict exactly where tensions may boil over, history serves as an important guide as polarised electorates have been affected by political turbulence in the past. Concerningly, despite the volatile risk landscape and increased threat of political violence, our data finds that a quarter (25%) of business leaders currently feel unprepared to deal with these threats. Given the risks, businesses should be investing in protection against property damage and business interruption.

“Whilst it is difficult to predict what’s going to happen linked to any particular election, always look to the past. You ignore the past at your peril.”

Alex Hill
Focus Group Leader - Political and Terrorism Claims, Beazley


Considering the events that followed the 2020 US presidential election, this year’s Biden/Trump election is set to be just as hotly contested and divisive with campaign rhetoric already beginning to intensify.

If Donald Trump is defeated, allegations of voter fraud could resurface, potentially with even more vehemence. This raises the potential for further attacks on government properties, such as the Capitol building, and polling stations, municipal buildings and government assets including court houses and prisons. Retailers are also in the firing line when rioting descends into looting, which can lead to significant losses².

Navigating uncertainty

The threat from political violence-related damage is set to remain elevated, with 29% of our survey’s respondents ranking this risk high for 2025 and a quarter of business leaders feeling unprepared to deal with this challenge today.

This is exactly the point where specialist insurance can step in. As nations face volatility, the requirement for more specialist, standalone cover increases for damage caused by riots, strikes and civil commotion as clients move away from terrorism cover and seek protection from a wider range of perils. However, coverage will be harder to come by, and much more expensive the later businesses try and find cover.  Firms will need to demonstrate they have proactive risk management processes in place to become a more attractive risk amid a finite appetite from capacity providers.

The message is clear – the risk is increasing so act now and implement risk mitigation plans.


“We saw last time with the storming of the Capitol Building on the 6th January, there was loss of life and US$1.5m of physical damage caused by this event.”

Chris Parker
Head of Terrorism and Deadly Weapons Protection, Beazley


The information set forth in this document is intended as general risk management information. It is made available with the understanding that Beazley does not render legal services or advice. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice and is not intended as a substitute for consultation with counsel. Beazley has not examined and/ or had access to any particular circumstances, needs, contracts and/or operations of any party having access to this document. There may be specific issues under applicable law, or related to the particular circumstances of your contracts or operations, for which you may wish the assistance of counsel. Although reasonable care has been taken in preparing the information set forth in this document, Beazley accepts no responsibility for any errors it may contain or for any losses allegedly attributable to this information. BZCP050.