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Environmental Risk a Top Concern for Mid-Sized Companies

Environmental risk was named as the top emerging concern by 35 percent of surveyed mid-sized companies in Europe, according to an ACE Group study.

Opinion Matters, which conducted the research for multi-line and casualty insurer ACE Group, spoke to 606 European risk managers, including chief financial officers and chief operating officers, responsible for buying insurance. The managers worked for companies with revenues of at least £500 million ($797 million).

Among UK respondents, 38 percent listed environmental risk as a top emerging concern, followed by 33 percent of respondents in France.

More than 40 percent of respondents cited the impact of previous disasters on their own business as a reason for their increased concern. The same percentage said increased attention from media, interest groups or society in general has been a primary driver in changing their approach to environmental risk.

Two-thirds of companies believe environmental risk is an increasingly important issue for every 21st century business, the study said. About 54 percent also expect the level of risk their own company faces to increase over the next five years.

That concern hasn’t always translated into action. Only 52 percent of European companies have crisis management procedures to handle an environmental incident, ACE Group said. One quarter of companies surveyed believe they don’t need crisis management for these risks at all.

Companies face more legislation related to the environment. ACE estimates there are more than 250 pieces of legislation in the UK that have environmental implications. The European Liability Directive has significantly changed the exposure of European countries, especially those in central and eastern regions, which have a history of less stringent requirements, ACE said.

An environmental advisory released last week by ACE Group urged healthcare facilities to take a proactive approach and assess potential risks posed by mold and legionella before starting any repair, renovation or construction project.

The report, “Legionella and Mold: Construction and Renovation Risks at Healthcare Facilities,” examines the potential risks of pollutants, such as the bacteria that causes the potentially fatal Legionnaires’ disease, and explores ways to mitigate them during construction or renovation.

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