Health risks: leading source of concerns for Europeans Third wave of the Crédit Agricole Assurances European Risk Observatory

September 17 2015

Health, main source of concerns

When surveyed about the risks that worry them most, Europeans no longer included unemployment in their top three risks. Health – including a loss of independence – leads the way (66%), followed by financial risks (37%), road-related risks (31%) and lastly unemployment (29%). We can see a return to risk ratings that are slightly less marked by the economic crisis.

Besides health, the assessment of the other risks varies between the countries:

  • In Spain, Italy and Poland, unemployment is still one of the top three risks that people fear most;
  • In France and Germany, the prospect of unemployment (mentioned by 25% of French people and 22% of Germans) is less worrying than the possibility of being assaulted or having items stolen (mentioned by 34% and 30% of French and Germans respectively);
  • In the UK, unemployment (24%) even comes in behind IT risks, such as having their bank details hacked or their online reputation tarnished (30%).

Significant feeling of vulnerability, but tending to ease off

While the majority of Europeans still feel that they face a greater risk of financial difficulties (59%) or job insecurity (53%) than they did five years ago, these feelings have eased (down -3 points and -6 points respectively from 2013).

The fear of job insecurity is also easing in the countries where it was strongest in 2013:

  • In Poland (72% fear such a situation; -9 points), Spain (57%; -15 points) and France (53%; -8 points);
  • In Italy, these concerns are stable compared with 2013 (69%).

However, the feeling of protection shows relatively little change: 41% of Europeans still consider themselves to be less well protected than five years ago (+1 point from 2013). Italians are still the most critical in this respect (67% reported a deterioration, although this figure is down -2 points from 2013 and -6 points from 2012), ahead of the French, a majority of whom now consider themselves to be less well protected (52%; +11 points from 2013; +15 points from 2012).

Risk aversion is still very strong

For the majority of Europeans, risk is still seen as a danger to be avoided (60%; +1 point from 2013):

  • This aversion is still particularly strong, and is even growing stronger in Spain (75%; +2 points from 2013; +9 points from 2012), France (70%; +3 and +8), Germany (66%; +4 and +9) and Italy (63%; +4 and +5);
  • In the UK, it is relatively stable (58%; -1 point from 2013; +6 points versus 2012);
  • This rejection of risk is in the minority in Sweden (42%; stable versus 2013), as well as Poland (48%; -3).

Nationality aside, there are significant differences in the way that risk is perceived depending on the sociodemographic profiles of individuals and their social roles: for instance, more women view risk as a danger (63%, compared with 58% of men).

While income levels have little influence on the perception of risk, education levels significantly affect how people view risk-taking. 72% of Europeans with a low level of education view risk as a danger, compared with 58% of Europeans with average to high levels of education.

The 2015 survey found that the economic climate is still having a major impact on how Europeans view risk, even if certain fears are tending to ease. Europeans in general are still marked by a strong level of risk aversion, although specific features can still be seen on a national, cultural and social level.

Boom in collaborative consumption, new form of solidarity faced with the crisis?

This third wave of the Crédit Agricole Assurances European Risk Observatory also shows that Europeans face a choice: avoiding risk at all costs, with the possible consequences in terms of missing out on opportunities to succeed, or adopting new strategies to bypass the systems that are not working. The strong development of collaborative consumption is part of this movement. This is the focus for the second section of this third wave of the Crédit Agricole Assurances European Risk Observatory.

73% of Europeans believe that the development of collaborative consumption is a deep-rooted trend that will continue to grow.

  • In certain areas, ownership is no longer the dream: today, 65% of Europeans prefer to borrow or rent a second home, rather than owning one.
  • Development marked by trends for alternative forms of consumption: 51% of Europeans have rented, swapped, borrowed and/or purchased second-hand goods more often over the past five years.
  • Phenomenon widely noticed by Europeans, but varying from one practice to another: 65% of Europeans / 83% of French people have seen the emergence of new forms of collaborative consumption in their country.
  • The economic environment, the main factor behind the emergence of collaborative consumption: 73% of Europeans believe that the development of collaborative consumption is a deep-rooted trend that will continue to grow.
  • Practices that are shifting perceptions of solidarity: 69% of Europeans believe that the development of collaborative consumption is leading to a fairer society.

To find out more, visit the Observatory site


Third wave of the Crédit Agricole Assurances European Risk Observatory carried out with Ipsos since 2012. This Observatory makes it possible to measure changes in the concerns and fears of people in seven European Union countries (France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) faced with the economic crisis, and determine how they relate to risk-taking. This survey was conducted online from 12 to 22 May 2015 with representative samples of the national populations of the seven countries, representing a total of 7,000 respondents.

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PR CAA Risk Observatory 17-09-2015