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Synthesis 2012 > In all the countries, the capacity to cope with the financial cost of risk is fairly low

In all the countries, the capacity to cope with the financial cost of risk is fairly low

Overall, relatively few Europeans feel in a position to bear the financial consequences of a life risk. The number of problems that a majority of Europeans feel they could cope with is limited. Out of a list of seventeen risks, there are only six that a majority of Europeans say they could cope with: a burglary (56%), theft of a vehicle (53%), a physical accident to them (52%) or a member of their household (51%), divorce (51%) and death of a household member (51%).

Only a minority of Europeans feel they could cope with the financial consequences of the other risks listed. They would be unable to bear social risks such as loss of their job (only 42% say that they could cope with the consequences) or the loss of their spouse’s job (47%). A minority feel able to cope with inability to work, even temporary, regardless of whether the inability concerns them or another family member (only 48%). Even fewer (42%) could cope with the expense of a serious illness. The risks that Europeans currently feel least able to cope with concern permanent invalidity (only 35%) and long-term care (34%).

Above all, with regard to all these risks, the percentage of people who say they have “no protection” is very significant. It should be borne in mind that the survey measures a sentiment, which is above all a feeling of great vulnerability. The feeling of having no protection is particularly strong for all the risks linked to the consequences of illness or disability and in particular the loss of autonomy of a household member (58%) or of one’s self (54%), a serious illness affecting the person surveyed (49%) or a family member (55%), or permanent invalidity of a member of the household (56%). An even greater percentage of people (63%) say they have no protection in the event of death of a family member. Even in the case of temporary inability to work, the percentage of people who say they have no protection is very high, whether in the case of their own inability (49%) or that of a member of the family (55%). A majority of the people interviewed felt totally unprotected against the risk of unemployment, whether for themselves (57%) or their spouses (65%).

Europeans feel better protected against risks to material goods: home (32% feel they have no protection), vehicle (30%) and property (33%).

More than a real lack of protection, these results reveal Europeans’ feeling of acute vulnerability in the present conditions: blinded by their anxieties, some Europeans apparently forget that they have protection (either from the State or through private insurance). However, given the magnitude of the problems raised, it is the feeling of not being ready or able to cope that dominates.
This is probably why Europeans more frequently say they are unprotected when questioned about major problems (such as the death of a family member or a serious illness) whose consequences are not solely financial. When feelings are not so deeply involved (loss of a vehicle, burglary, etc.), Europeans feel better protected.

the capacity to cope with the financial cost of risk is fairly low



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