Autumn 2018

The challenge

In May 2017, a bomb was detonated at the Manchester Arena, after an Arianna Grande concert. The tragic attack resulted in 22 people dying and a further 245 being injured. One consequence was a law change, which allowed insurance to cover non-physical consequences of terrorism, such as business disruption and counselling for staff.

In light of this, Pool Re, the UK’s leading terrorism re-insurer, wanted a detailed case study, to help them understand the impact that the Manchester Arena bombing had on businesses in the area. They also wanted to assess business attitudes to insurance in general – and to terrorism insurance in particular.

What we did

We conducted over twenty depth interviews with business stakeholders in Manchester who had been affected – both face to face and by phone. Some of the interviews were videoed, and were subsequently used by Pool Re on social media and at conferences. A shorter, quantitative survey was also circulated, alongside desk research.

The nature of the attack meant it was a subject which many did not wish to reference or recall. As commercial entities, they also feared that being involved in the research would be bad for business. To overcome this we employed the technique of ‘snowballing’ – asking those we succeeded in speaking with to recommend others.

What happened

Businesses reported that they were impacted by the attack both directly and indirectly, in a variety of ways. In the immediate aftermath, there were countless examples of companies acting spontaneously and without thought to the bottom line, to support victims.

Although the financial impact of the bombing on many local businesses was limited – compared, for example, to that of the 1996 IRA bombing of the Arndale Centre – many businesses reported temporary closures and declining footfall.

There was mixed awareness of terrorism insurance, and many of the same reservations exist as with other forms of insurance – i.e. cost and ease of claiming. But our success in speaking to these ‘hard-to-reach’ groups meant we were able to develop a list of 10 recommendations for how Pool Re could engage with small businesses – ranging from more flexible cover to awareness-raising ‘Grab Bags’ circulated by counter terror police.