Protect yourself when traveling abroad

April 28, 2014 | Last updated on April 28, 2014
2 min read

Whether you’re traveling abroad yourself, or sending employees to conduct important business, worries about flight times and foreign customs make it easy to overlook the risk of kidnapping. But you shouldn’t.

Kidnapping for ransom is a billion-dollar worldwide business run by experts in planning and negotiation. When you travel outside of North America, it’s a threat worth considering. Western travellers are targets in many cities, and you don’t need to be a billionaire or professional athlete to be at risk.

How ca you protect yourself?

Specialist insurance companies have developed kidnap and ransom insurance. The plans provide coverage for:

  • ransom money
  • informant money
  • crisis management services
  • accidental death
  • legal liabilities
  • rehabilitation
  • personal security consultation
  • reward money
  • negotiation services
  • family counselling
  • loss of ransom in transit
  • medical services and emergency evacuation
  • interpretive and forensic services
  • business security consultation

From 2006 to 2012, there was an estimated 100% increase in both the occurrences of kidnapping and in ransom demand amounts. More than 14 countries recorded cases of $25 million or more in settlements in recent years. In Mexico alone, the first half of 2013 saw over 750 kidnappings — the highest in more than 15 years.

In addition to being emotionally devastating for your family, such events can be financially destructive as well. Kidnappings end in death less than 10% of the time, leaving emotional trauma and financial loss as the most likely outcomes.

Most insurance plans are customized and there’s an extensive application that provides underwriters with the information required to assess the case and set the premiums. Factors they look at include length of travel, itinerary details, reason for travel, location and policy limits. The cost is around $1,000 per year, or more depending on specific factors.

While global integration has created incredible business opportunities, a side effect has been exposure to crimes such as kidnapping and extortion. As corporations grow internationally, they face the challenge of protecting their valuable employees in what are sometimes hostile environments.

So whether you’re traveling or your employees are, it’s in your best interest to have protection.