Businesses forget insurance as travel soars

Statistics reveal that the amount of people travelling aboard for work reached five million in March 2012 for the very first time.

Our estimates show that only 60 per cent of businesses have business travel insurance as part of its insurance programme, relying on employees having some form of cover.

The risk to employees travelling abroad is much greater than in the UK, particularly if there are medical emergencies which could cause major disruption to business performance, not to mention the stress of it all to for directors and managers.

The number working and visiting abroad is much more now than at any other time, mainly due to lower foreign manufacturing costs, but businesses are sometimes under the impression that travel insurance is covered under existing policies. Whilst employer’s liability will almost always extend, this doesn’t cover immediate emergency and medical costs, and could be a major headache and concern if unexpected events happen.

There are a number of things to consider when businesses look for travel insurance, including deciding which territories to include, for example Europe or worldwide. Special care is needed when travelling to some areas including the likes of South America, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is also unexpected events. The recent ash cloud natural catastrophe caused financial damage to many businesses that were not appropriately covered. Trips to offshore structures for example, and any kind of manual work also need to be included on policies where relevant.

A growing aspect of travel insurance is kidnap and ransom, which is going through a growth spike at the moment with special insurance policies covering this increasing by 100 per cent at Rowlands & Hames. With 30,000 kidnap and ransom cases in the past two years, and there being much publicised incidents, this is becoming an increasingly common occurrence, particularly in South America, Africa and the Middle East regions.

The main concerns for a business are undoubtedly medical and emergency travel expenses, which ideally should be unlimited in any policy. It’s more than just danger to personnel and risk of losing important documents which need to be considered, it’s travel disruption and even the risk of taking part in sporting activities if ancillary leisure activities are involved such as white water rafting. Specific details of the policy can be driven by the business, ensuring comprehensive cover, minimising risk to the business.

John Isles
Rowlands & Hames