“ERGO Risk Report 2020 EXTRA”: corona has significantly altered how Germans perceive risk

Fear of virus epidemics has risen sharply, new corona wave feared in 2021 - Germans embrace digital innovations - Wish for more information on how the corona track and trace app works and its data protection safeguards

Media Information, 12.10.2020

Since 2018, ERGO’s Risk Report has been examining risk competence and attitudes to personal responsibility in Germany. In a special survey, ERGO asked 1,000 Germans aged 18+ what concerns they have in these challenging times and what opportunities they currently see.

ERGO Risiko-Report 2020 Extra

The latest representative ERGO survey, conducted by the independent market research institute “HEUTE UND MORGEN” in mid-September, clarifies that the corona crisis has changed the perception of risks and opportunities considerably – but has also encouraged Germans to be more open for digital innovations. Serious illness remains the greatest fear for the future, but is now closely followed by the fear of becoming the victim of a virus epidemic in the years to come. At the same time, however, the respondents noted that the corona crisis may have a positive impact on the environment. Concerning digitisation, Germans continue to fear identity theft and the loss of data protection the most; at the same time, there is a surprisingly high degree of acceptance for the use of interactive voice response systems. The number of users of the corona track and trace app may increase, if the number of infections rises or if more detailed information is provided on how the app works and how personal data is protected.

“Keeping track of risks and managing them for our customers is our daily business. The ERGO Risk Report aims to create an awareness of the concerns and hopes that are driving Germans”, says Mark Klein, Chief Digital Officer ERGO Group, commenting on the study.

An overview of the results:

Germans increasingly fear virus epidemics and expect another wave of corona in 2021

In 2020, serious illness remains the greatest fear for the future for Germans. In a year dominated by corona, this fear has increased once again compared to the previous year (40% vs. 2019: 35%). The fact that the expected risk of “becoming the victim of a virus epidemic” in the years to come has almost doubled (30% vs. 2019: 16%) also shows how strongly corona has changed the public perception of future risks.

In the special edition of the Risk Report, ERGO asked about concerns and opportunities explicitly related to the corona crisis for the first time: six out of ten Germans are worried about another wave in 2021 (60%). With regard to the corona pandemic, the risk of contracting corona is the greatest fear for almost one in four Germans (23%). Against this background it is hardly surprising that “medical progress” remains the greatest hope for the future in 2020 for most Germans (50% vs. 2019: 48%). It also shows that medical knowledge has improved in 2020: the majority of Germans (89%) can correctly explain the significance of the reproduction number R. However, there is still a lack of knowledge regarding the period of reproduction and possible extent of infection (49% and 42% respectively).

The corona pandemic has also had a significant impact on leisure activities in Germany. Most people want to avoid cultural events, cinema screenings and bars in the short term, but many also plan to avoid them in the long term:

Germans are currently avoiding: Germans intend to continue voiding in future:
  • Visiting cultural events (79%)
  • Cinemas (75%)
  • Pubs / bars (74%)
  • Holiday travel (68%)
  • Pubs / bars (27%)
  • Cultural events / cinemas (23%)
  • Fitness studios / indoor sports (22%)
  • Public transport (21%)

But Germans also see opportunities in the corona pandemic: the positive impact on the environment (e.g. better air quality) gives hope to more than one in four Germans (28%).

Corona track and trace app used in particular by people under the age of 30 and higher earners – interactive voice response systems preferred to humans in hotlines 

With regard to digitisation in general, Germans continue to view identity theft (53% vs. 2019: 50%) and loss of data privacy (49% vs. 2019: 48%) as the greatest threats.

A new set of questions in this survey was about attitudes towards the corona track and trace app: the app is used by about four out of ten respondents over the age of 18 (38%). Young people up to the age of 30 (48%) and higher earners (51%) are most likely to have installed the app. However, a proportion of those not yet using the app would consider installing it on their smartphone if infection rates rise (18%) or if better information is provided on how the app works or on data protection (16%). Around one in four respondents (27%) is against using the app on principle.

For the first time, this year’s survey also included questions about attitudes towards other technological innovations and revealed a surprising result: asked to choose between a human call agent and an interactive voice response system (IVR) when making a call, six out of ten respondents would pick the IVR. In addition, more than half of the respondents (58%) say that the option of buying an insurance policy online is important, and for one in four (24%) it is a must.

“The corona pandemic is a strong driver of digitisation and will lead to lasting changes”, says ERGO CDO Mark Klein. “This applies to user acceptance, but also to the speed of implementation by German companies. I am confident that this combined progress will help us to emerge from the current crisis even stronger.”

Further information is available at www.risikoreport.de

For further information, please contact:

Eva Wüllner

Media Relations

Tel +49 211 477-3003

About the ERGO Group AG

ERGO is one of the major insurance groups in Germany and Europe. Worldwide, the Group is represented in around 30 countries and concentrates on Europe and Asia. Four separate units operate under the umbrella of the Group: ERGO Deutschland AG, ERGO International AG, ERGO Digital Ventures AG and ERGO Technology & Services Management AG. German, international, direct and digital business as well as the global management of IT and technology services are combined there.
About 38,000 people work for the Group, either as salaried employees or as full-time self-employed sales representatives. In 2019, ERGO recorded a total premium income of 19 billion euros and rendered benefits to customers (gross) of 17 billion euros. ERGO is part of Munich Re, one of the world's leading reinsurers and risk carriers.
More at www.ergo.com


This media information contains forward-looking statements that are based on current assumptions and forecasts of the management of ERGO Group. Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the forward-looking statements given here and the actual development, in particular the results, financial situation and performance of our Company. The Company assumes no liability to update these forwardlooking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

About the ERGO Risk Report

The ERGO Risk Report is a representative survey on risk literacy and personal responsibility among Germans; it was conducted in 2018 and 2019 under the scientific direction of Professor Gerd Gigerenzer, Director of the Harding Center for Risk Literacy at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. The institute did not supervise the special survey, which was conducted between September 11 and 18, 2020. The next “regular” ERGO Risk Report is scheduled to be published in 2022.

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