Travel Security 10 30 09


Published on

Traveling safely in the 21st Century from HUB International

Published in: Travel, Economy & Finance
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Travel Security 10 30 09

  1. 1. Passport to Safe Travels: Practical Advice for Affluent Travelers White Paper Provided by HUB International
  2. 2. Charles and Nancy stepped off the airplane and onto the tarmac at the small airport in Central America—again. Their favorite vacation getaway, they ended up buying a cottage there and spending extended long weekends once every two to three months. They were well-known as the rich American couple who lived near the beach about 15 miles from the small air strip. The more often they visited, the more like home it felt. As a result, they became less cautious on their last few trips—“we are as safe here as we are in the United States,” they recently told their friends. On a recent arrival, just as they were about to step into the back seat of their car, Charles noticed it was not their usual car or driver. Luckily, they had worked with their advisor to put a plan in place in case anything seemed out of the ordinary.
  3. 3. Executive Summary “The world is shrinking” has long been a catch phrase to describe how accessible the world has become; however it should also remind us of the proximity to danger. For anyone whose business and pleasure activities take them across the globe, that means leaving nothing to chance when it comes to ensuring their safety. The risks facing today’s travelers include kidnapping, hijacking, terrorism, and crime. Advisors to affluent clients who travel for business or pleasure need to think through everything from managing petty theft and lost passports, to kidnapping, to accessing emergency medical care in a remote location. This white paper covers the importance of proper planning and understanding the basics of personal safety when in an unfamiliar environment. It includes a checklist of common sense safety tips to reduce the primary risk of being the victim of a crime while traveling in a foreign country. The prospect of being kidnapped is not as far-fetched as it may have been years ago. Today, it is a serious threat in many parts of the globe. This under-reported crime has become more complicated and dangerous in recent years. Some top security firms are retained by insurers to work with policyholders to counsel them prior to a trip and take charge in the event of a kidnapping. A life and death outcome can be predicated on the level of experience the negotiating team has, how well they diagnose the situation, and how quickly they respond. Finding, obtaining, and paying for medical care in a country where a client has no physician or hospital relationships, no immediate access to personal medical records, and does not speak the local language can create risks. Travelers are advised to have a clear understanding of the available health care and local practices in cities and countries on their itinerary and decide if they need to rely on expert resources to help facilitate access to emergency care as well as consider insurance for overseas medical care or evacuation. Insurers today offer a plethora of resources, experts and products to reduce the risks facing affluent individuals when they travel. The right insurance, security advice and partners can mitigate the risks, but only if the individual takes full advantage of the counsel they receive and exercises round-the-clock vigilance. The first line of defense is the active, diligent attention and proper planning to make certain individuals understand the basics of personal safety to decrease their personal vulnerability. 3
  4. 4. Travel Dangers for High Net Worth Individuals “The world is shrinking” has long been a catch phrase to According to Guidry, the describe how accessible the world has become; however it “basics”, which include “We constantly have to should also remind us of the proximity to danger. For anyone passport storage, credit help clients overcome an whose business and pleasure activities take them across the card usage, strategies attractive and dangerous globe frequently, that should mean leaving nothing to chance for overcoming language notion -- calamity always happens to someone else.” when it comes to ensuring their safety. Ignorance is not bliss barriers, dealing with a -- Greg Bangs when it comes to foreign travel. concierge, and how to stay alert when walking Advisors to affluent clients who travel frequently for business around unfamiliar areas, are more important than preparing for or pleasure need to think through everything from managing other types of security issues. petty theft and lost passports, to kidnapping to obtaining emergency medical care on a remote tropical island or “It’s good to think of all the possibilities, but put your time and third-world business outpost. Risks include kidnapping, attention toward the basics. The vast majority of crime that hijacking, terrorism, and crime. Insurers today have a plethora happens when you travel happens when you are not careful of resources, experts, and products to counsel clients on with your passport, wallet, and personal information,” Guidry everything from how to carry one’s passport in the airport to warns. anti-piracy devices for private yachts. “Most business travelers would say ‘it can’t happen to me’ if Terrorism you told them they could be a victim of a kidnap and ransom Acts of terrorism are more visible and therefore may seem like or extortion (KRE) incident,” says Greg Bangs, vice president a greater threat to travelers than ever before. From September and product manager for KRE at Chubb. “While it may be 11, 2001 to the attacks in Mumbai, India in 2008, terrorists true that it is more likely someone will become involved in a target ‘regular’ people to focus attention on their political traffic accident overseas than to be in the midst of a terrorist or issues. “Terrorism has been on everyone’s mind lately,” says kidnapping attack, that mentality just doesn’t play smart these Guidry. “However, it should not be at the top of your safety days.” checklist. Depending on where you are going, knowing where there are problems and making sure that you keep someone The right insurance, security advice, and on-the-ground stateside abreast of where you are planning to travel is all the support can mitigate the risks, but only if the individual takes preparation you really need for this kind of security issue.” full advantage of the counsel they receive and exercises round- the-clock vigilance. Kidnapping The prospect of being kidnapped for ransom is not as far- Common Sense Safety fetched as it may have been years ago. Today, it is a serious Kidnapping, terrorism, hijacking, and medical emergencies threat in many parts of the globe. The top kidnapping hot are the exception, not the rule, when it comes to travel safely spots currently include Mexico, Pakistan, Venezuela, Nigeria, according to Michael Guidry, president and CEO of the Guidry India, Afghanistan, Colombia, Somalia, Brazil, and the Group, a Texas-based international consultancy specializing in Philippines. Latin American countries continue to dominate security risk auditing and management. Security experts agree the kidnap rankings. Haiti and Iraq are absent from the top ten that petty criminals are opportunistic and they don’t need to rankings after years of high levels of incidents.1 look far for victims. Airports, hotels, and upscale restaurants are target-rich environments. While many world governments may underreport kidnappings because they don’t want to discourage travel to their “Many Americans stick out like a sore thumb. U.S. passports respective countries, experts estimate that there are as many are blue and Americans wave them around in the open at as 15,000 annually—even though they acknowledge precise airports telegraphing the fact they are Americans,” says Guidry. numbers are hard to come by because only a fraction of “Always keep a passport in a secure pocket and bring it out incidents are reported.2 only when necessary. For the same reason, remove luggage tags, which advertise who you are and where you come from.” 4
  5. 5. Individuals who have had loved ones kidnapped may not Group) and others, are retained by insurers to work with always report incidents to authorities, sometimes from fear policyholders to minimize their exposure and to take charge of reprisal from criminals and sometimes because local in the event of a kidnapping. In addition to counsel prior to a authorities may be involved in the crimes themselves. trip, they can provide up-to-the minute reports on the political and criminal climate in a particular country. These foreign Here, too, politics can play a role. “Kidnappers may not be as situation advisories are invaluable in considering where special interested in money as they are in making a political statement. precautions are needed. So now, someone traveling internationally on business or for pleasure, must be cognizant of the political situations on top of Says Liberty’s Labrano, “Before we issue a policy, I need to the purely criminal situation,” said Louis Labrano, SVP, Crisis know current and prior destinations, including frequency, Management, Liberty International Underwriters. as well as the industry they work in. I also require a copy of the plan in case of kidnapping, and whether or not your company has experienced a kidnapping. The fact is successful Experts also stress that the more kidnappings have a greater risk of repeating. And we are going to insist that we give you a security briefing before you go.“ visible one is, the greater the vulnerability. Kidnappers profile their Having a contingency plan—including the order in which parties are contacted, protocols, and procedures—is crucial. targets ahead of time, so they advise When an individual who is covered under a kidnap, ransom and extortion (KRE) policy is kidnapped, the insurer typically travelers to be less conspicuous and lets the security firm assigned under the policy take the lead in less easily identifiable as wealthy. directing negotiations, paying ransom, and ensuring that the incident concludes with a safe release. According to Christopher Voss, managing director of Insite If a kidnapping takes place, a life and death outcome can be Security, and former lead international kidnapping negotiator predicated on the level of experience the negotiating team has for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), kidnapping has and how quickly they respond. Speed of response can make become more complicated in the last few years “Before the difference between success and failure. 2003, negotiators used tactics established for kidnappings in Colombia, in which kidnappers would hold a victim until the ransom was paid. Today, the rules have changed and Piracy and Hijacking Closely related to kidnapping, piracy and hijackings, while not kidnappers in other parts of the world will kill more quickly. common, are threats that travelers need to be aware of and The money can be irrelevant. It is not enough that the security prepare for. “Like terrorism, the chances of these types of firm conducting the operation has institutional experience in security risks are much, much lower than having your passport kidnap negotiations. The operatives on the ground need to or credit cards stolen while you travel abroad,” Guidry reminds. have broad experience across many countries and you need an experienced negotiator who knows how to diagnose a There has been a lot of coverage of increased piracy in the situation and is focused on your interests.” news this year, but tankers and cargo ships aren’t the only targets. Expensive yachts offer the potential for little resistance Kidnapping characteristics vary from country to country and and rich payoffs to would-be hijackers. can change depending on the nationality of the travelers, cultural and religious differences and the changing economic For travelers planning cruises—either on a commercial craft climate. In Mexico, some kidnappers will abduct for only a few or on their own—it is imperative they know the dangers their hundred dollars.3 “Kidnapping in Mexico is largely a criminal route poses, and work with an expert to plan and prepare enterprise, with eight to 10 kidnapping gangs operating in based on the potential dangers. And, for those knowingly Mexico City alone,” says Chubb’s Bangs. “Our concern is that going into unsafe territory, there are products on the market to all of Mexico, from a kidnapping perspective, has become so help deter pirates. dangerous and so out of control that we’re warning people about Cancun and other traditional tourist spots.” Mega-TALI is a long-range, tunable laser with a 10-20 mile range, which will, in an eye-safe manner, disable the vision of The top security firms, including Texas-based Guidry Group would-be attackers and disallow them from being effective in and United Kingdom-based G4S (which includes Armor 5
  6. 6. their attack. A stand-off from that distance puts the advantage may withhold care until payment is assured.) Doing research clearly in the court of the defending crew. and being prepared could save one’s life. “Having good local sources of information, following common Destination medical planning is one way to ensure that medical sense, and staying current with threats is the best defense,” support is available in the event of an emergency. WorldClinic says Pete Bitar, president and CEO of XADS, a developer of offers “Away from Home”, a comprehensive service that non-lethal laser weapons. includes access to personal medical records, a Prescription Medical Kit, and a proprietary database of physicians and hospitals around the world. It also includes evacuation and Medical Risks emergency hospitalization insurance in addition to other Being on the receiving end of a crime is only one way to be customized services. victimized when traveling outside the United States. What happens when one is injured and in need of emergency surgery, or when a pre-existing condition flares up, requiring The Role of Insurance in Travel Security immediate medical attention? Beyond swine flu, avian flu, and Insurers have the opportunity to help protect individuals before malaria, it makes good practical sense to have options in case they travel by counseling them on the basics, such as where to there is a medical emergency. store their passport and how to remain anonymous. They also have resources to educate them about the local threats, help Finding, obtaining, and paying for medical care in a country them take proper precautions and recommend appropriate where a traveler has no physician or hospital relationships, no insurance coverage. immediate access to personal medical records, and does not speak the local language, can create many risks. Kidnap, Ransom & Extortion (KRE) Insurance - Depending on the type of policy, KRE may cover many expenses “When you are at home, you have good medical infrastructure, connected with a kidnapping, including the ransom or access to your doctors, pharmacy, and big medical centers. extortion monies, death or dismemberment benefits, loss of All of that goes away when you are overseas. You may not payment, judgment, settlement and defense costs, expenses have access to emergency services or quick access to your of a hostage release/security consulting team, and medical medical records,” says Dan Carlin, MD, president of World or psychiatric care of the victim, and a 24-hour emergency Clinic, a global medical practice that enables around-the-clock response help line. KRE coverage is primarily offered through access to a personal doctor anywhere in the world. ACE, Chartis, Chubb, Fireman’s Fund, Hiscox (United Kingdom specialty insurer) and Liberty. When traveling, do research so that Premiums and limits can vary according to the countries traveled, type of employment, and the duration and frequency you have a clear understanding of of travel. The World Bank has called for the ban on KRE the available medical care and local policies, or to disallow the company tax write off, arguing that the policies encourage kidnappers. To help offset this risk, practices in cities and countries on insurers require that policyholders not disclose that they have the itinerary. such coverage. -- Dr. Carlin, World Clinic Medical travel coverage can include a wide array of services including emergency medical transportation (evacuation, “For example, what is the practice of medical care in the often from any country worldwide), emergency medical and countries to which you are traveling?” Dr. Carlin asks. “If a dental coverage, trip cancellation and/or trip interruption, travel treatment does not work, do you have more than one back-up accident coverage, and concierge services. plan?” Travel Accident insurance has evolved beyond simple According to Dr. Carlin, other medical issues that are policies designed to pay for death or injury. The newer travel overlooked when traveling internationally include the language insurance policies include reimbursement for economic loss barrier (medicines are known by different names in different resulting from trip cancellation, delay or interruption, along with countries) and methods of payment (in many countries, health concierge and emergency assistance services designed to care is a mix of public and private enterprise, and hospitals meet the needs of today’s demanding travelers. 6
  7. 7. Travel Accident Insurance & Assistance Services Comparison Chubb Chartis Mondial SOS International Policy Type Individual/Family Yes No Yes No Group Type Policies No Yes Yes Yes Insurance Coverage AD&D Yes Yes Yes No Medical Expense + Yes Yes Yes *Limited Emergency Medical Transport Yes Yes Yes *Limited Travel Delay Expense Yes Yes Yes *Limited Trip Cancellation/Interruption Delay Only Yes Yes *Limited Baggage/Personal Property Loss No Yes Yes No Baggage Delay Expense Yes Yes Yes No Rental Car Coverage + No Yes Yes No Travel Assistance Services 24 hour Global Assistance Call Center Yes Yes Yes Yes Assistance Services Covered Prescription Replacement Yes Yes Yes Yes Legal Yes Yes Yes Yes Travel Documents Yes Yes Yes Yes Medical Referrals Yes Yes Yes Yes Translation & Consular Yes Yes Yes Yes Concierge Services Yes Yes Yes Yes Emergency Message Transmission Yes Yes Yes Yes Other listed Assistance Yes Yes Yes Yes AD&D Coverage Exclusions War Military Service Mental Conditions Not Not Not Not Natural Catastrophe Hazardous Activities Covered Covered Covered Covered Disease Pandemics Pregnancy or Delivery Complications Suicide or Attempt AD&D Coverage Enhancements Felonious Assault Yes Yes No No Disappearance as Death Yes Yes Yes No Exposure After Coverage Accident Yes Yes Yes No Infection After Accident Yes Yes Yes No Accidental Bacteria Ingestion Yes Yes Yes No AD&D Payment Structures 100% of limits for death Yes Yes Yes No 100% loss of two limbs or sight & one limb Yes Yes Yes No 50% of limit for loss of single limb or sight Yes Yes Yes No Covered Trip Types ± Business Yes Yes Yes Yes Pleasure Yes Yes Yes Yes Minimum Distance ++ Yes Yes Yes Yes Minimum Duration ++ Yes Yes Yes Yes Maximum Distance ++ No No No No Maximum Duration ++ Yes Yes Yes Yes Covered Persons Insured Yes Yes Yes Yes § Spouse Yes Yes ¥ Yes ¥ Yes § Immediate Family Members Yes Yes ¥ Yes ¥ Yes § Trips Covered (Yes or No) Medical Treatment No No No Yes Commuting to and from Work No Yes No Yes * Limitations are to services only – No insurance Note: + Excess Other Insurance Some exclusions under insurance features are stated because other policies are ± Some Limit Commuting or Trips for Health Treatment typically owned and provide the coverage excluded here. ≠ Usually 100 Miles from Home or More and Over 1 Day to Trigger Coverage Catastrophe Exclusions are usually uninsurable situations not reasonably foresee- § If enrolled able or extreme loss potentials or “Acts of God.” ++ Usually minimum 24 hours and 100 miles from home – usually maximum duration of 60 or 90 days ¥ If listed and declared liability limits which are policy aggregates in some cases Costs and unusual services arising out of repatriation of remains after death usually are covered by all forms but SOS will only help make arrangements. 7
  8. 8. The comparison of select travel insurance policies on page 7 Centers for Disease Control. Provides information about highlights the increasing complexity of these plans. Eligibility diseases, vaccines, and offers tips on how to stay healthy requirements vary by plan, with some available on an individual when traveling. or group basis. Some plans, such as SOS International, provide worldwide travel assistance with no insurance coverage. Global Safe Haven Network. Promotes safe travel and offers emergency support to young travelers Other Valuable Resources U.S. State Department. Provides travel warnings and information. Register for automated email updates. Current Travel Warnings Using U.S. State Department data, the map below highlights countries that have met conditions to merit a Travel Warning Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade during 2009. These are issued to describe long-term, Canada. Travel reports and warnings. protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable. Travel Warnings are also issued when the U.S. Government’s ability to assist American citizens is constrained U.S. Department of Transportation. Provides tips on how to due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a prepare and pack safely for air travel drawdown of its staff. This list is regularly updated and should be checked online at before planning foreign travel. Georgia Uz be kis tan n Syria sta Israel ni Lebanon Iraq ha Iran Afg is tan Algeria Pak Saudi Arabia Mali en Haiti Chad Sudan Yem Nepal Philippines Eritrea Nigeria a ali Columbia m Sri So Cote d’Ivoire Central African Kenya Lanka (Ivory Coast) Republic Burundi Congo 8
  9. 9. HUB International Safe Travel Checklist HUB International offers the following tips for individuals who are traveling internationally: Learn as much as you can about the country you are visiting before you leave. You should be aware of the political and cultural climate, health/safety risks, active criminal and terrorist groups, and their propensity for kidnap and extortion. There are a number of travel security resources available, some of which provide ongoing travel alerts. Depending on your destination and your medical condition, you may want to plan for how you will cover the substantial expenses associated with hospitalization and/or medical evacuation. There are a number of travel insurance and emergency evacuation plans that provide cost effective coverage. Carry your medications in the original containers with copies of the original prescriptions. Remove all personal information from luggage tags. Use a small, discreet tag that includes your employer name and business address. If your luggage is lost, you can reclaim it with a business card and photo identification. Do not honor requests to transport letters or packages from people you don’t know, no matter how innocent they appear. Keep your cash and high value items in the hotel safe. Leave expensive jewelry at home. The majority of insurance claims placed by individuals while traveling are related to jewelry losses. In many cases, these losses resulted from individuals accidentally leaving their valuables behind. Book a hotel room between the third and sixth floors. A room below the third floor can pose a potential security concern. A room on the seventh floor or higher makes fire rescue and evacuation more difficult. Do not discuss your travel plans with hotel staff members or reveal your personal information to casual acquaintances. When you leave your hotel for the day, secure your luggage with plastic luggage ties. Inexpensive and easy to use, these ties can keep your personal items safe from anyone who comes into your room. Never leave your laptop unattended. In light of the increasing risk of identity theft, you should travel only with the data that you absolutely need. If you are traveling for business, have your employer install a highly encrypted program on your laptop to reduce the risk of hacking. Exercise caution in using ATMs. Avoid alerting bystanders that you may be carrying a large sum of cash. ATM transactions should only be done during the day, and only inside a financial institution. Avoid using ATMs that are located on the street.
  10. 10. HUB International Safe Travels Checklist Additional Safety Tips for High Net Worth Travelers International travel presents unique security concerns for high net worth individuals and corporate executives. Many choose to seek the guidance of a personal security advisor who will help them plan their trip and be available in case of an emergency. Risk Control Strategies (RCS), a firm that specializes in threat management, investigations and security solutions for corporations and the high net worth community recommends the following tips: Know who has access to your travel itinerary. Ask if the employees at your travel agency have been screened by their employer. Background checks should be conducted on anyone who has access to your personal information. Conduct background checks on staff members traveling with you. If you hire a professional security firm, ask them to conduct background investigations on your nannies, housekeepers, chefs, chauffeurs, pilots, yacht captains and first officers. Secure a personal driver on the ground. Depending on the travel destination, you may opt to hire a personal driver who has been screened for safety. Some security consultants employ drivers worldwide who have been carefully investigated. Avoid cabs and/or rental cars. Having someone do the driving for you enables you to enjoy your travels and arrive safely. Secure a Kidnap & Ransom policy before you go. This applies to all international locations, not just the countries or regions that have been deemed “hot spots.” Kidnap & Ransom insurance can help protect individuals in the event of an actual kidnapping and assist in the safe release of the victim. If children are traveling with you, they each need their own individual policies. Older children who are studying abroad should also have their own insurance policy. Consider destination medical planning – If you have a serious or complex health problem, consider hiring an expert who can arrange for customized medical services and resources to be in place wherever you go. For more information, contact your HUB International Personal Insurance advisor. This information is provided for general information purposes only. It does not constitute professional advice and does not create a broker-client relationship. Please consult a HUB advisor about your specific needs before taking any action.
  11. 11. Sources 1. “Annual Kidnap Review”, Special Contingency Risks Limited, London, England, 2008. 2. “The Eighth United Nations Survey on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems,” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Centre for International Crime Prevention, 2002. 3. “A Mexican Kidnapping: Police Apathy, Few Answers,” Alexandra Olson, Associated Press, Mexico City, February 21, 2009. HUB International thanks the following resources for their contribution to this white paper. ACE The Guidry Group Jean McDermott-Lucey K&R Michael Guidry, president and CEO 212-703,7190 USA 936-582-5810 Scott Lambert - International Advantage 215-640-4586 Liberty International Underwriters Louis Labrano, senior vice president - Crisis Management, 212-208-9543, Karen Sheekey - Accident & Health 215-640-4145 Mondial Bruce Wixson - Yachts Mark Cipolletti, vice president, Corporate Communications, 609-927-0878 804- 673-1591 Chartis Private Health Management Jeremy Wyatt, Vice President, Marketing - Accident & Health, Leslie D. Michelson, Chairman & CEO 212.770.0808 310.248.4000 Risk Control Strategies CHUBB Paul Viollis, CEO Greg Bangs, Vice President and Product Manager - Kidnap, 212-267-6992 Ransom and Extortion (908)-903-2000 World Clinic Fireman’s Fund Dr. Daniel Carlin, MD Donald E. Soss, chief underwriting officer - Personal Lines 800-636-9186 415-899-2000 Insite Security, Inc. XADS Christopher Voss, Managing Director Pete Bitar, president and CEO 212-362-5700 765-644-7324 Special thanks to Jim Boyd for research assistance. For more information about travel risks and insurance solutions, contact James Kane, president, HUB International Personal Insurance at, or your HUB International Personal Insurance advisor. 11
  12. 12. HUB International Limited Headquartered in Chicago, HUB International is a leading North American insurance brokerage that provides a broad array of property and casualty, reinsurance, life and health, employee benefits, investment and risk management products and services through over 200 offices across the United States and Canada. HUB Personal Insurance, Private Client Advisors This dedicated practice within HUB International offers one of the largest and most sophisticated personal insurance practices in North America. Licensed on all 50 states and the territories and provinces of Canada, HUB International Personal Insurance has access to the products and services of hundreds of insurance carriers and intermediaries. For more information, contact This information is provided for general information purposes only. It does not constitute professional advice and does not create a broker-client relationship. Please consult a HUB advisor about your specific needs before taking any action.