Keeping your most valuable assets safe overseas

Contributed by Mike McKessar, Director, Bupa Global Travel, 24 July, 2018

It's that time of year when the sun has finally made an appearance, and everyone's thoughts turn to holidays. Whilst most holidaymakers are well aware of the need for travel insurance, it's also important for employers to consider how they protect their staff who are required to go overseas against the potential liabilities that they might encounter.

The world is increasingly globally mobile and globally minded, but ensuring successful overseas assignments for employees is no easy task. There are many potential pitfalls – not least in terms of health and wellbeing. Companies frequently have to contend with a variety of issues from full scale medical emergencies to employees struggle to adapt to new cultures. However, last year, 85% of Bupa Global travel insurance claims were for medical reasons, showing that safeguarding an employee's physical wellbeing when they are travelling must be a priority.

Employers have a significant duty of care for their staff when they're overseas, whether that's as long-term expats or simply on a business trip. And this responsibility is recognised by employees; last year, Bupa Global conducted research which showed that nine in ten employees (90%) and senior executives (82%) think their employer has a role to play in their health and wellbeing when they are abroad.

So how can you ensure that you're safeguarding your employees – your business' most valuable asset – whilst they're overseas? Here's a checklist of questions to consider asking your travel insurance provider to ensure your (and their) peace of mind, wherever your workforce is travelling: 

  1. Is your provider just an insurer, or a healthcare expert too?

    Partnering with a provider that's known for medical excellence in addition to providing insurance will give you significant peace of mind. When your people are in an emergency situation, away from the support network and health systems they know, having a healthcare expert on hand to help them navigate those systems is critically important. You should ensure that your provider has an experienced team that can deal with different systems, available treatments, international and national guidelines, governing bodies and cultures.

  2. How large is your provider's network? Can your employees access medical care almost anywhere in the world?

    Check that your provider is able to offer your employees access to the right care at the right time and place. Furthermore, ask what local capabilities they can bring to bear in an emergency situation and what their relationships with medical providers are like on the ground in more distant climes.

  3. Does your provider offer a sophisticated evacuation / repatriation service?

    Sometimes the best medical care isn't available where your employees are. Your provider should have the capability to evacuate or repatriate employees to centres of medical excellence if they will receive better treatment elsewhere in the world. Partnering with a provider who can offer an in-house evacuation / repatriation solution means that you'll be recommended exactly the right facilities, clinicians and treatment dependent on the individual customer's situation – in addition to them providing the transport capability.

  4. How does your provider manage customer services?

    In a medical emergency, there will be many moving parts – but your provider should allocate a dedicated individual or team so that you feel confident and supported throughout the entire process. Check that your insurer takes full accountability of customer service issues; ideally all client management services (customer services, medical assistance, claims) are housed under one roof meaning that you aren't passed from pillar to post.

Ultimately, an experienced provider of corporate travel insurance will give you peace of mind and help your employees to navigate through their healthcare situation every step of the way. They will facilitate solutions for them as quickly as possible, ensuring the best possible clinical outcome for them depending on their individual situation.

Tags: business | employees | services | insurance |



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