Insuring employees abroad: Who covers evacuation costs?

Insuring employees abroad: Who covers evacuation costs? | Insurance Business

Insuring employees abroad: Who covers evacuation costs?

For international organizations, insuring employees while they work overseas can involve considering a complex nexus of risks, ranging from political violence to natural disasters and epidemics.

Multinational organizations that operate in unstable environments need to have systems in place to safely evacuate employees in the event of an emergency.

But triggering this coverage can be tricky, according to Clements Worldwide, a provider of international insurance for businesses, organizations and expatriates.

“Typically, evacuation insurance has only been for security-related events, like when Gaddafi got overthrown in Libya in 2011, or in 2016 when fighting in Juba, South Sudan, caused mass evacuations of foreigners,” Pete James, VP of global organizations at Clements, told Insurance Business.

Triggering evacuation coverage usually requires an official warning by the US State Department or foreign government equivalent, James explained.

If an official warning hasn’t been issued, an employee or traveller might not have immediate access to evacuation services, and may be ineligible to be reimbursed for a claim if they use them.

“So certain businesses such as international schools, construction firms, or oil and gas businesses, who might want to evacuate based on less severe security threats, could not,” James said.

And it’s not just matters of security that might lead a client to want to evacuate employees.

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“Security risk is not the greatest threat in all regions. In certain parts of Asia and South America, they are more concerned about natural disasters – whether it be earthquakes or typhoons,” James explained.

Clements’ new offering provides emergency evacuation coverage, including salary continuation, which can be triggered by crisis consultants tied to the policy, rather than just official government warnings.

As well as security-related events, it also covers natural disasters and epidemics – which the firm says is a broader coverage than was previously available.

Alongside a “tricky” political landscape, natural disasters are a risk that the firm predicts will increase with climate change.

With the Zika virus and Ebola as recent examples, medical risks also have the potential to grow to “epidemic proportions” in 2017, James said.

According to an upcoming Clements Worldwide Risk Index, there has been a reported 52% increase of political violence events for respondents over the past year, adding to the tumultuous political landscape globally.

James said: “Not only is violence increasing, but new governments and their policies could result in home countries triggering a response in a host country that could result in evacuation.”