SOURCE: Chubb & Son

April 28, 2008 10:00 ET

Chubb Survey Finds Smaller Companies Are More Likely to Experience a Loss Overseas

Nearly One in Two Firms Respond to Reports of Defective Products From China and Elsewhere

WARREN, NJ--(Marketwire - April 28, 2008) - As businesses continue to grow their foreign operations, small to mid-size companies are more likely to experience a loss to corporate assets outside the United States or Canada than larger companies, according to Chubb's (NYSE: CB) 2008 Multinational Risk Survey. Compared to companies with annual revenues of more than $1 billion, smaller companies experienced at least a 50% higher frequency of foreign losses during 2007 for liability lawsuits, theft of intellectual property/piracy and theft of goods in transit. Smaller companies also experienced at least a 35% higher frequency of losses for crimes against and injuries to American and Canadian employees traveling or working overseas.

"Larger companies often have the resources needed to take the global patchwork of different laws and languages, currencies and styles of conducting business and create corporate risk management standards throughout the world," said Kathleen Ellis, senior vice president, Chubb & Son, and worldwide manager of the Multinational Risk Group for Chubb Commercial Insurance. "Small and mid-size companies that do business overseas need to look to their business partners to help them create standards that will help reduce foreign property and liability losses and injuries to employees."

Top threats shift from terrorism to economic issues

Survey respondents reported that their companies will continue to seek additional revenue outside the United States and Canada in 2008. A majority of the respondents (71%) expect revenues from foreign operations, foreign sales and/or imports to increase, and three in four companies plan to expand their operations outside the United States and Canada this year. Companies will grow their foreign business by introducing new products (71%), increasing employee headcount (62%), acquiring another company (47%), and increasing the amount of imports (41%). In addition, 68% of respondents indicated their organizations will increase employee travel outside the United States and Canada.

This year senior-level executives and risk managers agreed that the top three threats to their business operations or business conducted outside the United States and Canada are currency risk (23%), supply-chain failure (16%) and credit risk (13%). In the 2007 Chubb Multinational Risk Survey, the top three threats were terrorism, natural catastrophes and political instability.

Companies seek protection from foreign products liability

This year's survey also found that 39% of companies acquired final products and product components from foreign suppliers. Forty-one percent expect to increase the amount of imports in 2008.

Although a vast majority of survey respondents (85%) indicated that their companies have not been affected by recent reports of defective products from China and other countries, 41% of all respondents are taking action to help avoid a products liability event. One in four of all respondents are implementing new policies and procedures to qualify suppliers. Companies are also testing imported products (13%) and requiring foreign suppliers to carry products liability insurance in the United States and/or Canada (10%). Fewer companies have halted importing certain products and components or have changed or stopped using foreign suppliers.

Professional liability lawsuits migrate to Europe and Asia

The survey also indicated that nearly one in four companies have experienced a director's and officer's liability, employment practices liability, fiduciary liability and/or errors and omissions loss outside the United States and Canada.

"Countries in Europe and Asia have undergone significant changes in their laws and regulations over the past decade, and the impact is beginning to be felt around the world," said Jeffrey Grange, senior vice president, Chubb & Son, and worldwide manager of professional liability insurance for Chubb Specialty Insurance. "Companies of all sizes need to keep a close watch on the evolving foreign legal landscape. They also would be wise to incorporate the resulting professional and other liability exposures into enterprise-wide risk management programs."

About the survey

The 2008 Chubb Multinational Risk Survey was conducted jointly in February and March 2008 by Opinion Research Corporation, a worldwide research and consulting firm in Princeton, NJ, and the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies in Warren, NJ. The Internet survey queried chief executive, operating and financial officers and risk managers at 212 U.S. companies.

About Chubb

The member insurers of the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies form a multi-billion dollar organization providing property and casualty insurance for personal and commercial customers worldwide through 8,500 independent agents and brokers. Chubb's global network includes branches and affiliates throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Australia.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Jodi Dorman
    (908) 903-2608
    Chubb Group of Insurance Companies
    15 Mountain View Road
    P.O. Box 1615
    Warren, New Jersey 07059