News & Media

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Need for Kidnap and Ransom Insurance on the Rise

When you're planning to move abroad for an assignment, thinking ahead can help you make the experience flow more smoothly. Aside from international insurance coverage for your health, property and auto, you also need to consider safety. Whether you're moving to a war-torn political hotspot or a quiet place with beautiful beaches, you need to consider reality. Ask your employer if the company has kidnap and ransom insurance. While it's a topic some people prefer not to discuss and hope they never have to, it can provide peace of mind. If your employer does not carry it and won't, it's something available you might want to consider.

Over the past six years, the occurrence of kidnappings has increased by at least 100 percent worldwide. As the economy in many countries continues to struggle, the number of kidnappings continues to rise, now estimated in the thousands each year. Kidnap and Ransom Insurance policyholder’s identities are kept strictly confidential. Plan ahead and determine exactly what is covered and who should be notified if you are kidnapped while abroad on assignment.

Keep in mind that while South and Central America and Africa have long had higher incidence of abductions, the numbers in the Middle East and Central Asia is on the rise. Most kidnap victims are released once the ransom is paid, but this is never a guarantee. While living and traveling abroad as an expatriate, be sure to follow these three tips. They will help to keep you safe, regardless of where you're staying.

1. Stay alert for suspicious people and activities. Create a plan for what to do if you think you are being followed or watched.

2. Never tell anyone in idle conversation that your company carries kidnap and ransom insurance on you or anyone in your organization.

3. When arriving in a new place at the airport, avoid taking a taxi. Plan on renting a vehicle until you secure a vehicle of your own. If this isn't possible, have someone you already know who is affiliated with your company pick you up at the airport. Consider a brief video conference meeting beforehand so you can easily identify each other or ask your employer for a recent photo. 

While kidnapping and unlawful detention can be an unpleasant topic to discuss, take the time to address it with your family and your company before you leave.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

5 Ways to Stay Safer in an International Hotspot

Blending in is one of the best ways to stay safe in an international hotspot. When you're living abroad, it's nice to think that everyone you meet will be friendly and hospitable. Unfortunately, the world doesn't always work that way. No matter where you're relocating, blending in with the locals is always the best way to stay safe. Standing out is one way to become a target. Even if your company has kidnap and ransom insurance, it's wise to become part of the background, blending in to the community. Here are 5 ways to blend in better and stay safer in your new location abroad.

1. Learn the Language – One of the easiest ways to stand  out and offend people at the same time is failing to learn the language. If possible, take classes ahead of time or hire a tutor. When people see that you are at least trying, they will be more likely to assist you in the market, at the office or in any public place. Speaking the language helps you blend in to strangers.

2. Dress Accordingly – When you're living abroad, dress like a local. Wear cool clothing in warm climates and warm clothing in cold climates. Dress age and gender appropriate. Follow the customs with shoes, headwear and accessories.

3. Avoid Bling and Flash – Avoid drawing attention to yourself. Even cheap but shiny jewelry can give people the false impression that you have a lot of money or possessions. While international insurance can cover your possessions in the event of a theft, it's wiser not to wear anything flashy or apparel that draws attention.

4. Stay Alert – Learn the area, stay alert and be on the lookout for anyone that looks suspicious. Pay attention to what your neighbors and co-workers look like and whether people are waiting outside your home or place of business.

5. Have a Plan – Always have a plan in case something happens to you or a family member while living abroad. Find a safe place to meet in case of an emergency and have an emergency kit ready as well. Part of the plan should include setting up or confirming kidnap and ransom insurance, international term life insurance and international health insurance.

For more information about staying safe while living abroad, subscribe to GlobalInsight, our quarterly newsletter or contact Clements Worldwide at +1(202) 872-0060.