What should business owners consider?
All businesses hold a duty of care towards their employees. The risks to employees whilst travelling abroad are somewhat higher than in the UK. Having any employee stuck abroad, particularly if due to medical emergencies, and particularly if they are senior staff, can severely impact on any business.
Considerations include: Territories (Europe only, Worldwide, including trips to the USA and North America or not?); is UK travel required (where overnight stay is arranged); is cover for manual work required; is cover for natural catastrophes to be included e.g. last year’s ash cloud (some insurers didn’t!); is travel by helicopters or non-scheduled aircraft involved; is there any trips to off-shore structures to be included?; are employees exposed to any risks of kidnap or ransom etc.
Who is insured and what types of trip are also considerations: Is the cover to be limited to business trips only or can associated leisure travel be included i.e. go on business but extend the trip for a few days of leisure; can the spouses and children of directors be included – if they are can they use the policy themselves in isolation and not bother with their own policies.
Most travel insurers will allow travel throughout the world – declaring the number of trips/days on a retrospective basis for larger firms. There are a limited number of territories which will require careful underwriting such as Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan etc. so it’s vital if you are visiting any areas where the Foreign Office advise against travel, it is declared to the insurer.
Some policies insist on any pre-existing medical conditions being declared and underwritten – other insurers simply accept everything provided you are not travelling against your doctor’s advice.
Many policies have an excess per claim, others don’t have any excess to worry about.
What types of things should it include
The main concerns for a business are medical and emergency travel expenses which ideally should be unlimited; capital sums following death or serious bodily injury; repatriation; cancellation and delays/curtailments/travel disruption; loss of travellers goods; loss of cash; loss of passports; personal accident; liability insurance; legal expenses; hi-jack, kidnap and ransom or hostage and political evacuation costs. Most will include skiing and winter sports automatically but be sure.
You also need to ensure any extra-curricular activities are catered for such as sporting or group activities – white water rafting; bungee jumps etc – if there is any chance such activities are being planned always ensure the policy extends to include.
Negotiate on price
Between insurers yes, but for the vast majority of businesses, the premiums are based on the number of trips and days involved and are extremely competitive indeed, usually just hundreds of pounds per firm rather than thousands.
For larger firms with hundreds of ‘man-days’ there would be grounds for Rowlands & Hames to negotiate on price, should a competitor’s pricing be close.
Other important features
Check on the approach to alcohol for example – some firms will exclude any claims as a result of alcohol, others don’t exclude which is clearly preferable. Some insurers offer online training packages to staff travelling abroad giving clear information as to what to do whilst away in various situations. This demonstrates extremely good H&S practice as an employer.