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How do companies protect traveling employees?


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Matt McKenna Scale Underwriting
Matt McKenna

Underwriting Manager

Technology may be breaking down geographic barriers but that doesn’t mean sending your employees overseas is getting any safer. Businesses whose employees travel internationally are familiar with these risks. But how do they protect traveling employees?

Every company faces unique challenges, yet certain risks are ubiquitous across industries. We’ll delve into why these risks matter and explore the insurance products available to address them effectively. So, how do you manage risk? Let’s uncover tailored solutions to safeguard your business and ensure its resilience in the face of uncertainty.

What happens if my employee gets sick or injured?

Think about an employee getting appendicitis while they’re in Singapore. Does your company health insurance plan extend coverage to overseas medevaambulance rides, emergency room visits and surgeries?

Travel and accident coverage will pay medical expenses when the employee’s health insurance can’t. The coverage isn’t as broad as a health insurance plan but it provides a great safety net for worst case scenarios.

On top of that, employer’s liability coverage will provide the company with legal defense costs if the employee files a lawsuit because of the illness or injury.


What happens if my employee gets into a car accident?

Auto insurance policies are just as necessary overseas as they are here. Making sure that your company and your employees are properly insured is just common sense.

Forgetting for a moment the injuries that an employee could suffer, there’s the potential for serious bodily injury and property damage to those around the employee. Him or her, as well as the company, could be held liable.

Foreign auto coverage will provide protection on top of the employee’s auto insurance from legal liabilities when an employee gets into an accident while overseas on company business.

Hired and non owned auto insurance policies are just as necessary overseas as they are here. Making sure that your company and your employees are properly insured is just common sense.

What happens if my employee causes someone else bodily injury or property damage?

Say your salesperson is visiting a client in Madrid when he accidentally spills a carafe of coffee, burning bystanders and damaging computer equipment. Or he bumps into a cyclist while jaywalking on the way into the office, injuring the rider and the bike.

These things happen all the time but they don’t have to catch you off-guard. Commercial general liability insurance can be extended overseas to protect travelling employees — not to mention the company — from bodily injury and property damage suits that are filed outside the US.

What happens if my employee’s property is stolen?

Tourists and business travelers can make for easy prey. It’s not uncommon for property crimes to be committed against employees while they’re out of the country.

One of the most frequent claims we see are stolen laptops — depending on the laptop, this can be an expense well into the thousands of dollars.

Commercial property insurance on an international scale can protect you here. It works the same way as it does domestically: if there is a covered loss to your property, the carrier will reimburse you the replacement cost of the property.


What happens if my employee is kidnapped?

This may seem far-fetched, but it happens. It’s a cottage industry in a couple countries. Overseas employees can be captured or hijacked and held for ransom. The kidnappers count on victims’ employers having deep pockets, wanting to protect their team, and being conscious of the potential for a public relations crisis.

Kidnap and ransom insurance pays the price of security consultants, ransom payments, and legal defense costs if the employee holds the company liable once the dust settles.

Carriers won’t offer this coverage for every country. Those with a high frequency of kidnappings will often be excluded from coverage so it’s important to ask questions and know your policy.

So how do I protect traveling employees?

All of these coverages can be purchased independently but, more often than not, companies will buy an international package policy. This will bundle the coverages together, helping to prevent coverage gaps and claim headaches.

Carriers are making it easier and easier to obtain this coverage. One major US carrier, AIG, even offers automatic quoting to any business that fits within certain parameters — that means your coverage could be in place in a matter of hours if needed, not days or weeks (more on this below).

The bonus is that these policies are designed to cover much more than just the employee’s trip. Policies can offer worldwide products liability or ocean cargo coverages, as well as voluntary workers compensation for local employees.

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