How to Protect Employees During International Travel

Posted: Updated:

With the rise of technology that allows for instant international communication, companies both large and small have the opportunity to strengthen their business by creating a presence in the global marketplace. While some can simply offer online services from afar, other business partnerships and international expansions involve securing distributors or facilities overseas with face-to-face meetings. These global business opportunities often require employees to work and travel abroad. In 2015, employees traveled for business an average of four times for 17 days at a time, but what risks are they facing to do their job?

International business travel inherently has certain risks not typically found during domestic travel. In 2017, these risks have included natural disasters, disease outbreaks, political unrest and terror attacks in top business destination locations, such as Paris, Puerto Rico, Houston, Barcelona and Las Vegas. Traveling while on the job requires companies to have an increased level of security to ensure employees remain safe during their trip. Here are the top five ways employers can keep international business travelers safe while abroad:

Research travel warnings

Consider first and foremost where your employees are traveling. Are there unusual risks which need to be addressed in those locations? For example, some parts of the world see a higher incidence of kidnappings or other crisis events such as violent crime or civil commotions. If your employees are traveling to an area with high exposure to these types of situations, consider obtaining a kidnap and ransom plan to cover them or a crisis management travel insurance plan. Both of these options will mostly likely include a 24/7 helpline to provide guidance and assistance to employers and employees in many types of difficult and scary situations.

Analyze health insurance plans

Shockingly, one in five companies report having an employee hospitalized while traveling abroad. It’s important to determine if the employee’s domestic health insurance plan will follow them abroad as health insurance plans typically don’t cover them when traveling internationally or only cover emergency situations up to a specific limit. Companies must verify the current plan’s definition of an emergency and determine if it will provide proper protection for its employee. In addition, it’s common for foreign providers to require payment upfront before providing treatment, making it a best practice for employers to buy a travel insurance plans for their employees with options for medical coverage for up to $1,000,000 and higher.

Prepare for the worst

Another important medical emergency that should be considered is medical evacuation. This is especially crucial if your employee is traveling to an area without appropriate medical care. A location may have adequate care for a broken leg, but not for a heart attack. As a safeguard, employers should choose a travel insurance plan with an emergency medical evacuation benefit.

Provide resources

Will your employee know what to do if they lose their passport? If they are sick and need to go to the doctor, how can they find a reputable one? Travel assistance services are essential and can handle these types of questions should they arise. Employees need a lifeline when they travel abroad, especially if they are in an unfamiliar area and do not speak the language. If a company is not staffed to help traveling employees with the multitude of issues that could arise, they should invest in 24/7 multilingual travel assistance services. They are often included with a travel insurance plan, but can also be purchased separately.

Use common sense and expert travel advice

Finally, one of the most important components of ensuring safe travel for employees is to educate them. Basic information such as not wearing expensive jewelry while traveling, traveling with a copy of your passport in a separate place from the original and adhering to an itinerary will all go a long way toward keeping employees safe when they travel.

Overall, safety-minded broad travel insurance plans are focused on relevant benefits for international travelers that can be extremely helpful in unforeseen medical emergencies, political unrest and terrorist attacks. While these dire situations may not occur frequently, corporations should still do all they can to ensure employees are safe while on the job.

Justin Tysdal is chief executive officer of Seven Corners.

  • Perspectives

    • Scott Flood is the owner of Scott Flood Writing.

      Kvetching Employees Kill Reputations

      There's a lot to bemoan about the state of customer service, but one particularly disturbing trend I've noticed is a growing number of employees complaining in the presence of customers.

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Ivy Tech Promotes Monroe to Provost

      Ivy Tech Community College has promoted Kara Monroe to provost/senior vice president. The position was previously held by Dr. Steven Tincher, who will retire in June. Monroe currently serves as vice president, academic innovation and support. In her new role, Monroe will provide overall leadership for academic affairs and serve as the chief academic officer for the college.

    • Construction to Start on Tech Park Hotel

      Groundbreaking on the first hotel at WestGate@Crane Technology Park will take place Wednesday in Odon. Officials say the $7 million Sleep Inn and Mainstay-branded hotel will employ more than 20. Owners Mike and Debbie Hicks also own the Comfort Suites in French Lick and the Legend of French Lick Resort Boutique Hotel and Event Center. Plans include...

    • Kroger Hires Eric Halvorson

      A former longtime Indianapolis television anchor and reporter has been hired by The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR). Eric Halvorson, who left WISH-TV last year after 33 years, will serve as public affairs manager and media spokesman for the company's Central Division. He succeeds John Elliott, who will become the chief executive officer of Gleaners Food Bank in Indianapolis later this year.

    • Another Major Development Coming to International Marketplace

      Officials in Indianapolis will Friday break ground on a $24 million mixed-use development at the International Marketplace on the city’s west side. The International Marketplace Coalition says the Pyramids at 35 Hundred will include residential and commercial space, creating 75 permanent jobs.

    • The teams will be competing for $15,000 in total prizes.

      State's Largest Hackathon Targets Public Safety

      Launch Fishers and the Indiana IoT lab will this weekend host what organizers call Indiana's largest hackathon. This year's At&T #IoTCivicHack will focus on public safety solutions. Fishers Police Chief Mitch Thompson says new, cutting-edge technology ideas are especially helpful in an industry where "we tend to surround ourselves with other professionals that are in public safety and we all tend to think alike."