The travel landscape in 2022 is more volatile than ever. As people return to business travel, organizations worldwide are turning to travel risk management solutions for help in navigating the complex risk landscape.
The COVID-19 pandemic upended business travel, creating new and significant health, safety, and security risks for companies around the globe. Beyond the pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered a high-alert geopolitical risk landscape – exacerbating concerns around employee safety and security while traveling.
“As more employees return to travel in 2022, organizations face heightened threats to the health of personnel, data and cyber security, and business continuity and reputation – all of which can affect legal, compliance, and duty of care responsibilities,” said Michael Nole, EVP sales and marketing at World Travel Protection, a risk management provider owned by Zurich Insurance Group.
“Forward-thinking companies are addressing the challenge head-on by updating travel risk management strategies for 2022; reviewing their approach to travel risk management (TRM) and travel approval to be streamlined, effective, and traveler-focused; and ensuring employees are educated and feel supported and comfortable traveling again.”
Nole joined World Travel Protection in March 2022. In his new role, he will oversee a growing North America, EMEA, and Australia marketing and sales team dedicated to bringing World Travel Protection’s comprehensive travel risk management solutions to businesses, governments, scholastic travelers, and NGOs.
Discussing the role, Nole – a former head of business development with health insurance giant Cigna – said he was most excited about the people at World Travel Protection and their relationships in the market.
“We are building a phenomenal group of diverse and talented individuals who are thrilled to provide a new approach that centers around our customers and partners,” he said. “Our strategy is focused on delivering affordable, best-in-class travel risk management and assistance services with trusted partners that align with World Travel Protection’s core values by educating and empowering customers to make informed decisions when it comes to travel and accessing the right care.”
Nole joined World Travel Protection at a time when the company is expanding across North America and globally. This expansion mirrors the rapid growth in the travel risk management sector, which Nole said is partly due to the volatility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because of new technology and digital tools that allow for real-time services and data exchange.
“Technology has made it easier than ever to connect people, platforms, and devices,” he explained. “The tech now exists to easily track travelers and communicate with them in real time and for travelers to get immediate access to risk information and emergency and crisis alerts so they can request help immediately.
“By employing a digital travel risk management and assistance application, organizations now have the opportunity to authorize travel safely, putting the tools of safe travel in the hands of their travelers, ensuring they are prepared, are risk aware, and can travel with confidence. As events shift or change around them, they will be able to adapt and leverage support. And the organization can locate and communicate with individuals and groups immediately.”
The volatile travel risk landscape is unlikely to ease up any time soon. As Nole noted, there are economic and environmental changes that will impact destinations for travelers and expat assignments – and it’s vital for travel insurers, risk managers, and employers to keep on top of those.
He told Insurance Business: “The ability to understand how these factors influence various populations globally will help us better prepare for potential risks, whether it’s civil unrest, accessing healthcare, personal safety, or natural disasters.
“The industry can adjust to market volatility by continuing to focus on evolving customer needs and concerns around personal safety, mental health, and data protection. At World Travel Protection, we believe preparation and education are paramount. With the right balance of risk management and risk tolerance, you can go almost anywhere.”