Travelers Announces New Annual Consumer Risk Index Showing Americans Believe Their World is Becoming Riskier

Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:00am EDT

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Travelers Announces New Annual Consumer Risk Index Showing Americans Believe Their World is Becoming Riskier

National survey shows financial concerns, personal privacy and ID theft, extreme weather and personal safety among the top concerns

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Travelers (NYSE:TRV) today released the baseline data for its new Consumer Risk Index, an annual survey that provides insight into the types of risks the American public believe to be most prevalent in their everyday lives. According to the Consumer Risk Index, 63 percent of Americans believe their world is becoming a riskier place, while only 15 percent feel it is less risky. The greatest levels of concern focus on their financial security, loss of privacy and identity theft, personal safety and the increased frequency of severe weather.

The debut of Travelers’ Consumer Risk Index coincides with National Preparedness Month, which is observed every September, to serve as a reminder to individuals and families to consider how to plan for and better manage unexpected events that could impact their daily lives.

“Americans realize that many of today’s most worrisome risks did not exist half a generation ago,” said Patrick Gee, SVP of Catastrophe Response at Travelers. “The Consumer Risk Index provides insight as to what concerns people most, and gives us an opportunity to offer simple, everyday steps on how they can best manage those risks.”

After several years of economic difficulties, financial concerns topped the list of issues that weigh most on Americans’ minds. Sixty-eight percent of respondents say they worry about financial risks, including providing for their family.

Technology’s Double-Edged Sword
As technology becomes a more central part of our everyday lives, it also contributes to Americans feeling their world is now more risk-prone. Technology-related risks are the second biggest concern identified on the Consumer Risk Index, with 64 percent of individuals worrying about personal privacy loss. When asked to specify, their worries took many forms:

  • 64 percent are concerned about their bank or other financial accounts being hacked;
  • 62 percent worry about ID theft; and
  • 48 percent fear losing confidential information via a stolen computer.

Technology-related concerns are not limited to information being hacked or exposed. An entire new spectrum of personal safety and transportation risks now exist due to technological distractions. Eighty-four percent of respondents say distracted driving is a concern, while 55 percent said the same about distracted pedestrians. Only 31 percent of respondents, however, are concerned that they themselves could get into an automobile accident as a result of their own use of a mobile device while driving.

Extreme Weather Becoming More Frequent
Severe weather is another leading worry, according to the Travelers Consumer Risk Index. Seventy-percent of all respondents believe that severe damaging weather events are becoming more frequent across the U.S. today compared to the last few years.

However, this is also an area where Americans say they feel protected – 90 percent report they are somewhat or very confident that their home or dwelling is properly insured, while 93 percent report the same for their automobile coverage.

How Americans are Preparing
While the Travelers Consumer Risk Index identifies a number of concerns for individuals and families, people are also taking steps to prepare for the unexpected. Among the most common actions:

  • Carbon monoxide, smoke detectors – 83 percent say they have installed these devices in their home;
  • Annual safety check on their car – 84 percent say they perform this annual inspection, which includes checking tires, fluids, parts, etc.;
  • Distracted drivers, pedestrians – 78 percent say they are constantly alert to potentially distracted drivers and pedestrians around them; and
  • Severe weather – 57 percent say they store extra food/water/flashlights in the event of severe weather, while 52 percent say they have created an evacuation plan.

Consumers can visit the Travelers Prepare and Prevent web site for a variety of tips and information on steps they can take to prepare for everyday risks. For complete survey results, please visit www.travelers.com/riskindex.

About the Survey
Hart Research conducted a national telephone survey of 806 adults from May 20, 2013, to June 2, 2013. The survey was commissioned by Travelers and has a statistical margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

About Travelers
The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) is a leading property casualty insurer selling primarily through independent agents and brokers. The company’s diverse business lines offer its global customers a wide range of coverage in the auto, home and business settings. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Travelers has more than 30,000 employees and generated revenues of approximately $26 billion in 2012. For more information, visit www.travelers.com.

About Hart Research
Hart Research Associates is one of the leading survey research firms in the United States. Now in its 42nd year of operation, the firm has conducted well over 7,000 public opinion surveys and has administered and analyzed interviews among more than four million individuals in that time. Hart Research also has undertaken more than 6,000 focus group sessions. Our client base represents five major sectors of society: nonprofit institutions and advocacy organizations, labor unions, politics and public policy, business and industry, and the media.

The Travelers Companies, Inc.
Daryl Richard, 860-954-0844
dricha10@travelers.com