North America terrorism risk outlook

23 May 2019

North America terrorism risk outlook The US continues to be a high-risk target for terrorism. Soft targets such as transport systems and public events will be at the highest risk of attack. The threat level in Mexico and Canada is greatly reduced, though the risk of lone wolf attacks in Canada remains.

Terrorism in the US is more likely to be carried out by lone wolves and small groups inspired by, but not directly affiliated with, international terrorist organizations.

However, the threat from the ERW continues to increase. Across both far-right and Islamist extremist attacks, the availability of firearms in the US will likely make active shooter incidents a continuing threat.

North America terrorism risk outlook  North America terrorism risk outlook

Mass shootings such as those at an Orlando nightclub in 2016 and a music festival in Las Vegas in 2017 have increased interest in insurance coverage relating to active shooter threats.

Terrorism risks in Canada have been greatly reduced over the last five years, though the threat from Islamist extremists and the ERW still present a danger.

In Mexico, Islamist terror organizations have little presence, and the threat level to both businesses and individuals is minimal.

Key Terrorist actors in 2019

Islamist terrorism: Ione wolf or small terrorist cells

Extreme right-wing: Individuals or groups

Which sectors are most exposed?

Commercial businesses

Businesses in densely populated urban areas, such as New York and Toronto, may look to non-damage denial of access and non-damage loss of attraction cover to mitigate low capability attacks on public areas.

For example, in April 2018, an attack using a vehicle in Toronto’s North York City Centre killed 10 pedestrians and injured 16 others.

The incident forced a rerouting of public transport services away from the central business district and the police cordon closed access routes for a number of businesses for up to 48 hours.


Transport infrastructure poses a target for terrorists across North America, exemplified by the detonation of a pipe bomb in a New York subway station by an Islamist extremist in 2017 that injured four people.

Mail bomb packages have unsuccessfully targeted densely populated subway stations in Toronto over the last two years, including an incident in March 2019.



  • Raj RanaRaj Rana

    Raj started her career as an account technician in the back office of the newly merged Heath Lambert in July 2000.

    In September 2001 she relocated to the Head Office in London as an Account Handler in the international Property Division specialising in Terrorism and War.

    In the last 15 years Raj took over the running of the War and Terrorism Portfolio and has since built up a significant international portfolio of business delivering bespoke insurance and reinsurance placement solutions. She has an in-depth technical knowledge of market wordings and is also experienced in tailoring wordings to complement existing insurance arrangements whether this be local pool coverage or integrating with all risks covers.

    She has extensive experience in working with a varied client base including power, infrastructure, energy, retail, manufacturing, hotel and leisure, aviation, finance and public sector businesses. She joined JLT on 1st February 2016 as Head of War and Terrorism.

    For further information or to learn more about terrorism insurance, contact Raj Rana, Head of War and Terrorism on +44 020 3797 7732.

  • This article featured in our latest terrorism report.
    For an update on global terrorism trends and how the insurance market is responding, download our
    2019 Terrorism Report

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