Business travel is central to the global growth of companies, but as we send our employees to more dangerous parts of the world do we need to more carefully consider how we should respond to the threat of kidnap and ransom?

Kidnap high-risk areas are expanding

Approximately 40,000 kidnappings occur every year and over 40% of these are of business personnel or their dependants. Regions with the highest risk such as Mexico, Libya and Bangladesh*, are well known and employers may have been aware of these risks for some time.

Data suggests these high-risk areas are expanding their territory and getting more dangerous. However, there are also significant business opportunities in these same areas so companies sending staff to these regions need to be particularly mindful of risks.

As an example of how risk regions are changing, Result Group, reports a significant deterioration of the safety situation across Africa in the last four years** – an attractive continent for business due to its rapid economic growth.

Employees are increasingly concerned about personal safety

It is worth remembering that kidnap and ransom, whilst most common in high-risk regions is not exclusive to them. It can happen anywhere, so it is understandable that employees may be getting more worried about their personal safety. Indeed, research*** from ABTA shows that safety is employers’ number one concern for staff that travel abroad for work.

What can employers do?

Employers need to be aware that the threat of kidnap and ransom can occur in any region. As businesses expand into new territories this can potentially increase the risk to business travellers. At The Health Insurance Group, we believe employers are underestimating this risk and could to do more to protect their employees.

It is vital that companies have adequate protection for their staff to ensure they are properly prepared should the worst happen. Employers also need to remember, this isn’t only relevant for expats, but any staff that travel for work too, even for short trips.

Given this context, it is now a priority for employers to be prepared, wherever they are sending staff. Here are six things companies can do to be better prepared:

Following these steps may help to reduce the risks and will ensure adequate protection is in place, helping employers to fulfil their legal obligations to staff.  These preparations should also serve to help reassure staff and their managers.







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