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The COVID-19 pandemic has rewritten the global risk landscape in 2020, 2021 and beyond. As the pandemic rages on in the U.S. and around the world, the impacts of COVID-19 threaten to roll back years of progress on reducing social and economic inequality, climate action, and more.

Examining the global risk landscape of today, a new Zurich report shares the results of its latest Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS), identifying and ranking the top risks by likelihood in 2021.

The “Global Risks Report 2021 includes an analysis of the growing social, economic and industrial divisions in the U.S. and abroad, their interconnections, and their implications on society’s ability to resolve major global risks.

Researchers believe the factors of job losses, a widening digital divide, disrupted social interactions, and abrupt shifts in markets could lead to “dire consequences and lost opportunities” for large parts of the global population.

According to the report, the ramifications of COVID-19 and the major events of 2020, fueling “social unrest, political fragmentation and geopolitical tensions,” will shape the effectiveness of government and corporate responses to other major threats.

Threats to watch in the decade ahead

The Zurich Global Risks Report also rates risks according to when survey respondents perceive they will pose a critical threat to the world. Short-term threats (0-2 years) show concern with the immediate impact of the crisis on lives and livelihoods — among them are infectious diseases, livelihood crises, digital inequality and youth disillusionment.

In the medium-term (3-5 years), respondents believe the world will be threatened by knock-on economic and technological risks that may take some years to crystalize, such as asset bubble bursts, IT infrastructure breakdown, price instability and debt crises. Existential risks —weapons of mass destruction, state collapse, biodiversity loss and adverse technological advances — dominate long-term concerns (5-10 years).

For now, insurance professionals and risk managers should watch the top risks in the year ahead. In the slideshow above, discover the top 5 risks at hand in 2021, ranked by likelihood and impact.