People risk: Well-being of mobile workforces
In a recent survey, Airmic- the UK risk management association - found that while business travel has increased by 25% over the last decade, just 16% of UK companies said they had high confidence in their travel risk framework. Toni LePine, senior underwriter and head of retail accident and health UK & Ireland at XL Catlin, explains why simply having an insurance policy is not enough to manage people risk.
How is travel risk changing?
The number of employees who travel for work has increased and it is no longer just the most senior staff who travel as part of their job. So companies need to ensure that all mobile employees are aware of the potential risks when they are travelling. The biggest risk is that of people traveling unprepared. A lot of companies’ travel risk policies currently focus on financial aspects - such as what class employees can travel in- rather than preparing employees for situations that might arise when they are travelling. For example, employees should be aware of whether or not is it safe to use local taxis when they arrive at a location or what cultural issues might they need to be more aware of. And security threats are increasing in many areas of the world, and emerging risks, such as identity fraud, mean that there are many potential threats for which employees must be prepared.
Who is responsible for managing travel risk?
Within many companies, the management of people risk is not owned by a single department but instead falls across several areas – such as human resources, security, risk management or business continuity - and is not always brought together under a single umbrella. Increasingly people risk is on the agendas of the C-suite, and we - insurers and our broker partners – need to be talking to our clients to make sure that these risks are being looked at holistically.
It is vital to learn the lessons. All these events are slightly different, but the fundamentals are the same.
Ideally, all stakeholders come together to discuss these risks and work out a people risk management policy. We stress the importance of a people risk management cycle, whereby companies learn the lessons and feed those lessons back into their policy.
What steps can companies take to make sure they are managing these risks?
Simply having a business travel insurance policy is not enough for companies to ensure they are meeting their duty of care to employees who travel. We are offering a service product supported by an insurance solution. We decided to align our offering with the recent British Standards Institution’s PAS 3001 code of practice, Travelling for work – Responsibilities of an organization, which was published in late 2016. That code outlines the need for companies to have a clear and well communicated travel policy, and processes to identify risks. For example, if an employee uses an external travel agent to book a trip to an area of concern, then there should be a process to flag that up, and advice and tools available to help that employee travel safely. There then needs to be a response capability for if things go wrong. The services that we have attached to our policy flow through that people risk management cycle supporting the medical, security and wellbeing needs of people.
What can insurance coverage offer?
The Protect & Assist solution that we offer combines personal accident and business travel insurance with risk management, response and support services. Before employees travel, we can help companies take steps to reduce and prevent risks, such as reviewing their travel risk policy, providing pre-travel medical assessments and information storage, among other things. The insurance provides comprehensive group personal accident and business travel coverage, and provides bespoke claims handling. The protection can be tailored to include additional services such as travel tracking, crisis and response planning, close protection bodyguard services and high risk area training . Compliant global programs can be designed to ensure that a global workforce can be afforded the same services and protection.
How do response services help if an event occurs?
The service providers we work with were chosen for their understanding of people risks and each has its own area of expertise. Those services include crisis response, home emergency response, an identity theft helpline, corporate reputation protection, emergency cash advances, lost baggage location, counselling and emotional support, online GP appointments, emergency communication and family liaison. After an event, it is important to follow up and feed lessons back into the people risk policy – even if things went well. It is vital to learn the lessons. All these events are slightly different, but the fundamentals are the same – travellers need to be prepared and educated about the risks they might face.
About the author
Toni LePine is a Senior Underwriter for Retail Accident & Health at XL Catlin. She can be reached at email@example.com