Risk management
6 min read

Global Risks Report 2024: Insurance Industry Forecast

It's no secret that the insurance industry faces numerous challenges and risks that require careful attention and strategic planning in today's rapidly changing world.

Arrow Icon
January 16, 2024
Risk management
6 min read

To effectively navigate these uncertainties, the insurance sector must understand and address ten global risks with significant opportunities.

This summary highlights the significance of our detailed Global Risks Report, which provides valuable insights. For a more comprehensive understanding, be sure to explore the full report.

top 10 global risks by Trendtracker
The risks impacting the insurance industry for the upcoming decade.

1. Rising debts and slowed economic growth

a man holding an empty wallet
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in public debt as governments implement expansive fiscal policies, increasing the significance of the public debt-to-GDP relationship worldwide. Although the impact varies across different countries, the increase in national debt is linked to economic slowdown. High-income countries are experiencing adverse effects on real GDP.

Japan is a notable example, sustaining high debt levels with strategic financial management and market confidence. The management of public debt should be customized to the unique economic and governance conditions of each country, according to the IMF.

In the wake of the pandemic, focusing on innovative investments and financial responsibility is key, alongside international cooperation in debt restructuring, to strengthen future economic stability and transparency.

2. The increasing impact of climate change

a melting ice berg
Photo by Melissa Bradley on Unsplash

Climate change has far-reaching social, economic, and political ramifications beyond the environment. The importance of this risk cannot be overstated. The world is experiencing a global trend of extreme weather events, including mega-droughts in America and floods in Pakistan.

Europe's Cerberus Heatwave and severe wildfires in the United States and Canada highlight how climate change is making natural disasters worse, affecting communities and economies. By 2050, climate events could displace 1.2 billion people and reduce global GDP by 18%.

Despite increased climate action by businesses and governments, efforts fall short of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. A collaborative effort among stakeholders is necessary to expedite effective climate action and effect transformative change in energy, transportation, and social systems.

3. Geopolitical escalation in the Middle East, Eastern Asia & Eastern Europe

men protesting for palestine
Source: Unsplash

The geopolitical landscape in the Middle East, Eastern Asia, and Eastern Europe is marked by escalating tensions and complex dynamics. In the Middle East, conflicts and external influences, particularly the Israel-Palestine conflict, create instability. Eastern Asia faces challenges around China's assertiveness, especially regarding Taiwan and the South China Sea, impacting global responses. Eastern Europe's tension centers on Russia's geopolitical actions, notably in Ukraine.

These regions remain unpredictable, with key factors like Iran's nuclear program, China's technological rivalry with the U.S., and Russian-Western energy dependencies shaping future regional dynamics and global strategic interests.

4. Artificial Intelligence: from novelty to necessity

an image of chatgpt
Source: Unsplash

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has transitioned from fiction to a critical element in business, particularly in data-driven sectors like insurance. Beyond automating tasks, AI now plays a vital role in complex decision-making and customer service, with significant advancements like imagery generation enhancing marketing and design.

The global AI market, increasing with a projected $407 billion by 2027, sees substantial investments from countries like China, Japan, Germany, and the UK. AI is set to transform industries and the global labor force, with nations incorporating it into military and economic strategies poised for leadership.

Countries are adopting varied approaches to AI, balancing its power with ethical considerations and societal values, as seen in India's focus on public consent and France's emphasis on ethical development.

Read: 5 Tech Trends Paving the Way to Tomorrow's Innovations

5. Wealth inequality effects on economic expansion

a woman giving a coin to a man without a home
Source: Unsplash

Global wealth inequality, where the top 10% hold a disproportionate share of wealth, significantly hinders economic growth and social stability. The concentration of wealth among a small elite, as seen in the United States, limits overall spending power, leading to economic stagnation and disparities in resource access. This inequality influences economic policies, often favoring the wealthy, as evidenced by the housing affordability crisis in major cities.

Addressing this issue is crucial; policies like the European Union's Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) aim to ensure fair taxation and reduce tax avoidance. Studies suggest that wealth redistribution and equal access to essential services can stimulate more inclusive economic growth, with businesses contributing by offering flexible payment and microfinance options to lower-income individuals.

6. Demographic shifts and diversity

a brown skin woman carrying a white child
Source: Unsplash

As the world's population approaches 11 billion by the end of the century, significant changes in population patterns are occurring, including increased diversity and substantial international migration. The demographic shift is evident in Western nations due to migration from conflict zones and economically unstable areas. Immigrants play a crucial role in labor force growth and economic vitality, reshaping cultural and political landscapes. Simultaneously, developing countries like India face rapid population growth coupled with the challenges of climate change, leading to potential mass displacements.

In the future, advancements in healthcare will lead to an increasingly diverse and longer-living global population, which will require strategic planning in infrastructure, social welfare, international development, sustainable food production, and carbon emissions management.

This evolving demographic landscape calls for governments and industries to adapt and embrace cultural differences, ensuring sustainable support for a growing and diversifying global population.

Read: 5 Societal Trends Shaping the Global Future

7. Virtual economy expansion

a bitcoin on a keyboard
Photo by Jievani Weerasinghe on Unsplash

The rapid expansion of virtual environments and blockchain technology is transforming the virtual economy, providing significant growth opportunities for virtual goods and assets. The metaverse is reshaping our economic landscape, challenging traditional financial systems with innovations in decentralized finance.

The resilience of the virtual economy is evident in platforms like Roblox and virtual real estate markets, providing income and diversification opportunities. The rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), such as Beeple's record-breaking digital artwork, highlights the value and potential of unique digital assets in this evolving economy.

Organizations can gain by understanding and leveraging opportunities in the virtual economy for business and community building.

8. Heightened global vigilance

people protesting in the streets
Source: Unsplash

In a world increasingly defined by uncertainty, economic and geopolitical disturbances have heightened global awareness of risks, affecting personal and market behaviors. The World Uncertainty Index reflects this growing unpredictability, influenced by conflicts like those in Ukraine and the Middle East and tensions between China and Taiwan.

These developments have led to significant shifts in consumer and business practices, with a trend towards entrepreneurship and self-reliance as necessary in unstable times. Individuals and businesses adapt by altering spending and buying habits to protect against uncertainties.

In the future, consumer behavior is expected to become more cautious, with organizations needing to adopt empathetic communication and reinforce reliability. The financial sector is responding by focusing on customer-centric strategies and enhancing cybersecurity measures, aiming to build trust and confidence amidst these challenging times.

9. The evolution of smart and eco-friendly cities

a building covered by plants
Photo by Victor on Unsplash

The development of smart eco-cities represents a significant change in urban development by integrating sustainable practices with technological advancements. These cities combine environmental friendliness with technology to maintain a balance with nature and cultural heritage. Citizen engagement in governance is a priority, using digital platforms for participatory decision-making, as seen in Copenhagen's efforts towards carbon neutrality and green mobility.

The future of urban living in smart eco-cities lies in blending cutting-edge technology like AI and IoT (Internet of Things) with sustainability to drive efficiencies in energy, transportation, and waste management. These cities will form global networks to address common challenges and foster a connected, digitally integrated urban experience that enriches quality of life while minimizing environmental impact.

Smart eco-cities are advancing to create a more responsive, adaptive, and sustainable urban environment, transforming how we live and interact in urban spaces.

Read: European Cities: Leading Digital Innovation and Diversity

10. Universal connectivity and digital gap bridging

a person holding a smartphone
Source: Unsplash

In today's digitally connected world, more than half of the population uses social media. However, there is a significant digital divide, particularly in regions like Africa, where internet access is relatively low. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital connectivity, especially in healthcare, where AI advancements rely on data availability. This has further widened the gap between regions with high and low internet penetration.

As new technologies like the metaverse emerge, transforming online interactions and business engagements, it is essential to ensure equitable access. Bridging this gap requires a concerted effort from both the public and private sectors to make the benefits of digital advancements accessible to all and prevent the digital divide from widening.


As we navigate the top 10 global risks, it becomes evident that the insurance sector can be crucial in managing and mitigating these challenges. Addressing these global risks requires a collaborative effort that transcends individual sectors. The unique position of the insurance sector at the intersection of risk and protection makes it a significant catalyst for change, contributing to global strategies aimed at resilience and sustainability.

To take the first steps towards this transformative role, our detailed Global Risks Report outlines practical strategies for the insurance industry to engage and lead in managing these global risks.

Industry Insights