Snapshot: Insurance impact of U.S. State Department terrorist designation

The US Department of State's latest designation of ISIS-affiliated groups and sympathisers in the Middle East, Africa and Asia could impact insurance for organisations operating in affected territories.

  US Department of State

The US Department of State says designating ISIS-affiliated groups is critical to degrading the organisation's global network.


On 27 February, the U.S. Department of State designated three ISIS-affiliated groups ISIS-West Africa, ISIS-Philippines and ISIS-Bangladesh  as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) and as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). It also designated four other ISIS-affiliated groups and two ISIS-affiliated leaders as SDGTs. These are: ISIS-Somalia, Jund al-Khilafah-Tunisia, ISIS-Egypt and the Maute Group in the Philippines. The individuals are: Mahad Moalim in Somalia and Abu Musab al-Barnawi, leader of a splinter faction of Nigerian non-state armed group (NSAG) Boko Haram which pledged allegiance to Islamic State in March 2015. Groups can be designated as FTOs, whereas a wider range of entities  including terrorist groups, individuals acting as part of a terrorist organization, financiers and front companies  can be designated as SDGTs.


As a result of designations, U.S. citizens are prohibited from engaging in transactions with these groups and it is a crime to knowingly provide, or attempt or conspire to provide, material support or resources to the organizations. These designations follow others earlier last month, when the U.S. listed three individuals and their businesses entities as SDGTs due to links with Islamic State. The individuals and their business interests are located in the Philippines, Somalia, and Turkey. U.S. Department of State coordinator for counter-terrorism Nathan A. Sales described the most recent designations as a critical step in degrading ISIS's global network and denying its affiliates the resources they need to plan and carry out terrorist attacks.


Organisations operating in or near territories where these designated SDGTs operate should carry out a threat assessment to establish whether a terrorism insurance policy is required. Brokers should approach clients operating in or near these territories to discuss terrorism policies. Underwriters should consider increasing premiums for territories where these SDGTs are present, to reflect this change in threat. The designation of several Islamic State-affiliated NSAGS in Africa highlights the U.S.'s growing interests and activity in the region, as A2 Global indicated in our latest Somalia analysis. U.S. citizens operating in these territories should conduct due diligence on partners and their firms.