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Risks for the future – Insights from AXA's 10th Future Risks Survey

Which risks will have the most impact on our society in the next five to ten years? In this blog with the results of AXA Group's annual Future Risks Survey, you will discover the answers given by Belgian risk experts and the general public. The insights will help you anticipate by offering new solutions that make your customers' lives safer.


Interconnected risks and also glimmers of hope

For the tenth year in a row, AXA Group's Future Risks Survey provides insight into the top ten risks according to experts and ordinary people worldwide. The outcome of the survey paints a picture of a world undergoing multiple crises, in which risks are strongly interrelated. However, the report also shows cautious optimism that we can manage the risks ahead and that a collective form of progress is still within reach. In Belgium, that confidence is lower than the global average. 

Climate: top concern worldwide

Both experts and non-experts in Belgium believe that the world population and the domestic population have generally become more vulnerable than five years ago. Climate risks continue to pose the greatest threat. Belgian experts place risks involving natural resources and biodiversity in 6th place, while the Belgian population also fears major consequences from pollution (4th place). 

After-effects of the energy crisis still being felt in Belgium and Europe 

Energy risks take a striking second place in the ranking by the Belgian population. Other Europeans also remain alert to the possible consequences of a new energy crisis, while this is less of a concern on other continents. Pandemics and infectious diseases complete the top three risks in the eyes of the Belgian general public. 

Will technology lead to the next global crisis? 

Belgian risk experts see – in addition to climate risks – the greatest threat as posed by geopolitical instability (ranked 2nd) and cybersecurity issues (ranked 3rd). There is the suggestion that technological progress could lead to the next global crisis. As our societies become increasingly dependent on digital infrastructure, their vulnerability to cyber-attacks, technological disruptions and ethical risks associated with the use of technology increases as well. In Belgium, 47% of the population believes that technological progress poses more risks than it solves.

Majority in favour of a pause in AI development

According to respondents, the unexpectedly rapid rise of generative AI is bringing many risks. Experts rank AI and big data-related risks in 7th place; the general public in 10th place. Worldwide, these risks skyrocketed to 4th place, the highest ranking ever. Experts and the public agree that government agencies and the private sector are completely unprepared for this emerging risk. In Belgium, the trust of experts in government authorities is non-existent (0%). Only 13% of experts and 21% of the general public say the private sector is ready for the rise of risks associated with AI. 69% of the Belgian population believes that a pause is needed in the development of AI and other disruptive technologies. Among experts in Belgium, 56% agree with this statement.

Risk of escalation due to social inequality

Finally, a large majority of both experts (74%) and the population (73%) in Belgium feel that inequality in society is increasing and can lead to more social tension and fragmentation. According to respondents, this poses a threat to social cohesion, the functioning of democratic institutions, decision-making, economic activities and the ability to jointly find solutions to common challenges.

Insurers part of the solution

In Belgium, 86% of experts and 69% of the general public believe that insurers can play an important role in protecting against emerging risks. If a global crisis were to break out in the next 12 months, 63% of experts and 27% of the public were confident that insurers would be able to limit the impact. In general, trust in various actors – from governments to scientists – appears to be gradually recovering. 



Looking to stay ahead of tomorrow's customer needs? 

Discover deeper insights in the AXA Future Risks Report 2023. 

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