A Slippery Slope

Issue 22

With the ever-increasing overseas business opportunities arising for North East enterprises the question to consider is "Are your company travel insurance & travel policies adequate"?

Official reports state that UK business travellers made 9.4% more visits abroad and spent £3.5 billion more in 2015 than 2014 (9.8%). Outside of current Brexit related inflation woes an increase in business related travel both domestic and abroad provides additional concerns for businesses and corporate organisations to be worried about.

The instability of international or home grown terrorism, political unrest, state sponsored espionage, the increasing risk of natural disasters and the ever-increasing potential of an economic market crash crisis, business insurance cannot be an option but should be viewed as a legal requirement. However, an alternative question that presents itself is “How are North East companies and insurers dealing with these threats to business travellers”?

Reduction of risk:

It has been noted that organisations throughout various market sectors are out sourcing elements of their duty of care onto some third-party providers to ensure that their policies, processes and crisis management systems are kept in line with current global shifts. The consensus amongst key decision makers for this strategy is that incorporating external subject matter experts (SME’s) allows them to gain clarity on the bigger picture within a fast-changing environment. North East companies are starting to understand that generic off the shelf insurance policies are inadequate as they potentially cause additional risks to their operations, reputation and more importantly their travelling employees.

The ever changing social, political, environmental and economic climates means reaching out to SME’s is becoming a necessity despite the financial implications, this may be viewed as a negative to those who hold the purse strings but a positive to those within HR and operational control appointments. Rather than view external SME’s as a threat to organisational finances, take a step back and look at the potential dangers that may arise if your internal policies, insurance and duty of care is compromised. Such an example would be ‘several employee’s attend a trade mission, during their visit they are caught up in a natural disaster, whereupon many have been injured’, what are you going to do?

Having the ability and resources of SME’s (insurance providers and risk management specialists) in their remit allows business executives to gain full control, accountability and deliver real time information for their employees. Today’s risk management & insurance tools are seen as realistic deliverables that are not a financial burden and favoured by insurance specialist providers. Many of these tools encompass, 24/7 tracking capabilities, real time information push notifications (transport delays, civil unrest, terrorism, natural disasters etc) through smartphone applications to specific training, policy guidance and implementation, all of which can be delivered in very short periods of time.

In summary:

Analysing today’s overseas business opportunities decision makers must be mindful of their organisational duty of care levels, is having off the shelf insurance & generic policies adequate? Simply trawling online insurance policies for a quick fix can be a disaster waiting to happen, furthermore being ill-equipped with generic travel crisis management policies and having a lack of critical information streams is a poor excuse for complacency. At Athena Risk we rely on the phrase ‘to be forewarned is to be forearmed’, thankfully companies are realising this is a mantra to be adhered to by taking a more proactive approach towards seeking external guidance with regards to their internal policies which will provice dividends in protecting their operations and assets.

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