Aon/Albert G. Ruben Map Details Risks to Overseas Filmmaking

March 23, 2006

“Disease, kidnap and ransom, and terrorism risks pose the greatest threat to global filmmaking,” according to the 2006 Risks in Global Filmmaking Map published today by Aon/Albert G. Ruben.

Aon’s bulletin said “the map, which measures crime and corruption, terrorism, kidnap and ransom, disease, and medical care risk, analyzes more than 200 countries and assigns an overall country risk rating to each.” It shows that “situations contributing to risk in many regions across the globe have not greatly improved, based on this year’s general findings. The Middle East remains a hotbed of terrorist activity and many countries in Africa are in economic turmoil. The riskiest regions for filmmaking are Nepal, Kenya, Thailand, Pakistan and Zimbabwe.”

However Aon’s map also shows that some countries, notably Morocco, Nicaragua and the Slovak Republic, “present less risk to filmmakers compared to last year.” In all three, economic growth and/or a decrease in terrorism risk have created a more appealing business environment.

“Filmmakers should be particularly concerned about avian influenza, or bird flu, especially since it has spread so widely. If the virus makes the jump from animal-human to human-human transmission, it could have a catastrophic impact on filmmaking,” noted Chris Palmer, director of risk control for Aon/Albert G. Ruben and author of the risk map. “The authorities would likely stop all international travel, meaning that nothing — not film reels, equipment or people — would be able to go to or come back from a location, perhaps indefinitely. The average producer is not yet thinking about this possibility and the potential impact of a global quarantine, but it is a serious risk.”

Clive Stoddart, managing director of Asset Security Managers, a division of Aon Limited, observed: “The threat of kidnap and ransom continues to grow in a number of countries, including Mexico and China.”

According to the map, kidnapping is now the second most prevalent criminal activity in Mexico after narcotics trading. “In 2005, Mexico recorded more kidnapping incidents than Colombia, making it the number one kidnap hotspot in the world,” said the bulletin. “Within the country, Mexico City is considered the center of the kidnap industry and, together with the State of Mexico, accounted for approximately 69 percent of the country’s kidnappings in 2004. Other states with high levels of kidnap risk include Guerrero, Chihuahua and Michoacan. Kidnap activity in Nuevo Laredo and Tijuana have also prompted concern and, at times, official warnings to U.S. citizens.

“In China, kidnapping has historically been linked to bad debts and business dealings gone wrong on a local level. Although accurate statistics are hard to come by, kidnap and ransom is a growing problem in that country and the threat is spreading to include foreigner visitors.”

Paul Bassett, executive director of Terrorism and Political Risk for Aon Limited stated: “The threat of terrorism is not only coming from international extremists, such as Al Qaeda, but it is also emerging from domestic, single- interest and ideological groups, and individual criminals. These entities are cross-fertilizing and becoming more sophisticated, thus increasing the risk for filmmakers overseas.”

The 2006 Map also identifies those countries that pose significant political risks, such as political violence or civil war. It was created by Aon risk experts who measured global risks specific to filmmaking by compiling data from a variety of sources, including U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs, Overseas Security Advisory Council, Diplomatic Security Services, Central Intelligence Agency personnel and publications, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and other sources.

Aon said “the Risks in Global Filmmaking Map takes a snapshot of the current global situation. However, because the global landscape is changing everyday, Aon/Albert G. Ruben provides risk updates throughout the year. Please visit to register for the map and to receive regular risk updates from Aon/Albert G. Ruben.”

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