Rising cost of living ranks as Canadians' No. 1 concern in survey by global insurer RSA
December 22, 2010
– As 2010 winds down, a recent study commissioned by global insurer RSA explores the most common and disparate fears felt this year and shared by citizens of seven countries including Canada. When asked what our top five risks are, Canadians responded with the rising cost of living first, followed by climate change, damage to the natural environment, cancer and finally speeding traffic/dangerous drivers.
Although the concerns identified are reasonable, Canadians put disproportionately more weight on these risks than other countries with far less economic and social stability, leading experts to wonder - are we risk averse?
While Canada - a member of the G8 and one of the most fiscally stable countries in the world - called out the rising cost of living as our number one concern, other nations such as China cited life-threatening earthquakes as their greatest concern while Poland identified drunk driving.
"Ironically, the risks Canadians are most concerned about reflect their optimism about the future, and the strong performance Canada has turned in through the Great Recession," says Richard Worzel, C.F.A. and futurist, of Futuresearch. " Whereas citizens of other countries are concerned mainly about direct physical dangers, Canadians are concerned about more subtle dangers that take longer to make themselves felt, like the rising cost of living, climate change, cancer, and environmental degradation. While these risks are certainly real enough, they are still much more intangible than the risks that people elsewhere are concerned about."
In addition to polling current attitudes toward risk, the report - researched by The Futures Company - takes a historical look at what real risks and threats faced humanity 300 years ago, as well as a forecast of what risks we are likely to face in the next 100 years.
"As an insurer, we are constantly measuring and evaluating risks, which is why it's so fascinating to learn how risk has evolved over the last 300 years, from concerns over agriculture to climate change," says Rowan Saunders, CEO and President, RSA Canada. "As we celebrate our 300 years in business, we're preparing for the 300 years ahead of us that will bring new challenges and some relief to those we currently experience."
The report also reveals the following findings from the other countries surveyed, including the United Kingdom, Sweden, Poland, China, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates:
* The top risks identified per country are:
o The UK: Anti social behavior
o Sweden: Damage to the natural environment
o Poland: Drunk driving
o China: Earthquakes
o The UAE: Rising cost of living
o Argentina: Illegal drugs
* 'Bullying by other children' is identified as the top risk for children in The UK, Sweden, Canada and Argentina. Poland named 'using drugs', China reported 'pandemics' and the UAE listed 'unsafe ingredients in food' as the highest risk for children in their countries
* In 100 years time, some predict there will be worries over the abuse of genetic profiling and losing touch with reality as a result of our over reliance on virtual interaction
* In the UK, 40 per cent of participants felt significant risk from a terrorist attack
* 60 per cent of Chinese respondents felt cancer was a significant risk for them. In China, approximately 1 in 5 rural and 1 in 4 urban deaths are due to cancer
About RSA Canada
RSA Canada includes Roins Financial Services Limited, Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, Quebec Assurance Company, Johnson Inc., Western Assurance Company, Ascentus Insurance Ltd., Canadian Northern Shield Insurance Company and is part of RSA Insurance Group plc. RSA Canada employs approximately 3,200 people and is represented by a large network of brokers across the country. In 2009, the Canadian Group wrote $1.9bn in direct premiums with assets exceeding $5.5 billion. Internationally, RSA Insurance Group plc employs about 21,000 people and has the capability to write business in 130 countries and in 2009 its net written premiums were £6.7bn. RSA is a trade name of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada.