Staff travel risk policies found wanting

by 29 Sep 2010

Many companies worry more about travel costs than travel security, travelling employees do not get enough travel health and security training (especially those venturing into high risk areas), companies do not generally put extra safety measures in place for international events/meetings and many companies believe that insurance coverage is adequate as a risk mitigation measure.

These are the findings of a recent report, conducted by International SOS and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, which found many companies neglect their duty of care obligations when it comes to the safety of travelling employees.

“The concept of duty of care for transplanted staff and business travellers is that organisations

must make efforts to avoid the risk of reasonably foreseeable dangers to the traveller,” the report said.

“Employers are expected to take practical steps to safeguard against such threats.”

As such, companies need to more work in the development and implementation of travel risk management policies, the Managing the Risks of a Global Workforce report recommended.

Based on responses from 161 business professionals who travel for work (70 per cent came from large, Fortune 500 organisations with a regional office or a presence in the Asia Pacific region), the report found that 57 per cent ranked traveller safety and security as being most important to their firm, followed by travel expense management (26 per cent) and travel policy compliance (17 per cent).

Somewhat reassuringly, 70 per cent declared that their company travel policy is designed around traveller safety and security, however, it was found that 38 per cent of companies did not have a proper traveller security and safety policy in place.

A small number (3 per cent) did not have traveller insurance, a third party service to provide traveller support during international travel, provided pre-trip advisories, or did not conduct travel safety training.

“Travellers with these companies need to seriously audit their travel health and security measures before travel … unless they believe this all taken care of or, even worse, take the view that ‘this happens to other people and won’t happen to me’,” the report said.

“If these companies do not even have key man insurance or a policy disallowing more than one executive on the same plane, then they are heading for trouble.”

The report found that 47 per cent of companies had an emergency response plan in case things took a turn for the worse in a high risk country (such as such as Afghanistan, Algeria, Cameroon, Chad, Iraq, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea), while only 22 per cent would provide a security escort to protect their employees in danger spots.

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