Why group personal accident and travel insurance needs to evolve to meet the needs of modern business travellers
Business travel is on the increase. Between 2016 and early 2019, average travel spend among European organisations more than doubled. After China and the US, Germany, Japan and the UK are the top markets in terms of business travel spend. According to recent research, 30% of European corporate travellers fly once a month and over 60% fly at least once a year.
While business travel has many advantages for corporates looking for growth in new markets or seeking new suppliers and raw materials, there are new challenges as the number of personnel travelling abroad grows. Chief among their concerns is the need to prioritise the safety and security of business travellers and an expectation that companies should provide more than just a basic security support plan.
Sixty-three percent of business travellers believe the threat environment has become more risky, according to research by Ipsos MORI. "Companies that send their employees overseas on a regular basis have a duty of care to keep their workers safe, wherever they are in the world," says Martin Cyril Jorgensen, head of accident and health, AIG Europe. "And business travellers rightly expect their employer to support them in the event of an emergency."
Much of the risk mitigation is pre-emptive. Staff need to be informed of any potential threats at their destination and how to avoid them. This could be natural catastrophe exposures, political instability and/or a heightened risk of crime. Travel itineraries should be detailed and business travellers should know where to go and who to contact if something happens while they are abroad.
"Business travellers are individuals and should be treated as such," says Jorgensen. "Consideration must be given to health, mental health and the risk profile of workers who are potentially more vulnerable, whether that is due to their age, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation."
"A modern and mobile workforce requires more than a conventional risk management approach," says Jorgensen. "As the people risk landscape changes, with more and more employees travelling regularly for work, the onus is on organisations to provide staff with the right training and education to reduce travel-related risk. Where there are security threats and concerns, itineraries may need to be modified, and if an incident occurs, evacuation and crisis management should be an immediate priority."
AIG's enhanced group personal accident and travel insurance product for Europe, Group Plus, provides clients with a travel assistance mobile app that includes, among other features, a one touch 'help' button and security travel alerts. It also offers security training for business travellers.