Even greater volatility is expected in 2023, driving threats including kidnap incidents and political repatriations

Europe accounted for the highest number of crisis incidents across the globe in 2022, largely driven by political repatriations arising from the war in Ukraine.

The figure stands at 30% in 2022, up from only 4% in the previous year. That’s according to a 2023 Crisis Management Review released by WTW.

Political repatriations were responsible for nearly a quarter (24%) of all incidents reported to WTW’s Crisis Management team last year.

Jo Holliday, global head of Crisis Management at WTW says: “Events in 2022 served to illustrate the advantages of spotting early warning signs on crises and calling on specialist capabilities to protect human and physical assets against them. And unfortunately, we’re likely to see even greater volatility in 2023, meaning businesses will need to take greater preparatory measures against crises to remain secured.”

K&R threat remains high

While Europe saw the steepest rise in crisis incidents, the Asia-Pacific region saw the largest fall, down from 30% of incidents in 2021 to 12% in 2022. This is attributed to a spike in incidents due to the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan in 2021, which returned to more stable levels in 2022.

Despite political repatriations driving the growth in regional incidents, threats were the most frequent incident type (28%).

Threats can include those made to kill, injure or kidnap someone, to damage company property or to reveal confidential company information and were reported by organisations across the globe, however more than half of reported threats took place in the US, the UK and Mexico.

Additionally, kidnap incidents (both traditional and express*) made up one in four of all incidents in 2022. This is a significant rise from the previous year, where kidnaps represented just 14% of incidents. Africa and Latin America continue to be global kidnapping hotspots and account for the majority of these incidents.

The report found that deeper tensions and wider volatility can be expected to impact more territories in 2023. However, it’s anticipated that talent, supply chain partners and investors will expect organisations to make preparations to stay agile against potential crises.

*Express Kidnap is a face-to-face kidnap/hijack situation between victim and assailant only and in which there is a financial demand to secure the release. It differs from a ‘traditional’ kidnap insofar that the latter requires the victim to be abducted and then held captive in one location with an accompanying financial demand made to a third party (employer/family member) at another location.