Organisations are not doing enough to ensure their travel risk strategies are fit for the 21st century realities of business travel and fulfil their legal duty of care, according to Airmic which published a guide for risk professionals on travel risk management at its annual conference in Birmingham last month.
Business travel has grown by 25% over the last decade, the report notes, with businesses sending employees and other people they are responsible for to a wider range of territories including high or extreme risk regions. In addition, the nature of terrorism has changed such that low-risk destinations can become high-risk in a matter of hours.
Businesses have a legal duty of care to protect their employees - which may include contractors and family members - and yet only 16% of Airmic members surveyed have high confidence in their travel risk management framework.
Insurance, while important, is not a sufficient mitigation strategy, especially in today's fluid and complex geopolitical environment, according to the report. Businesses also need reliable sources of relevant intelligence and flexible and pre-rehearsed plans in place to ensure a quick and proportionate response to any crisis impacting its people.
"Sadly every week we are currently reminded why having an effective travel risk management framework in place is imperative. As the tragic events in Westminster, Manchester and more recently on London Bridge and Borough Market demonstrate, any destination can become high risk at an intense speed," Julia Graham, Airmic's deputy CEO and technical director, commented.
She added: "I urge all risk professionals to review, update and rehearse how they would respond should such an incident impact their organisation. Knowing where your people are and how you can communicate with each other in the event of a crisis is especially important."
The guide also notes that today there is a greater diversity of people undertaking business travel. Organisations therefore need to risk profile each travel destination in view of their own policies for diversity and inclusion.
The report, Travel Risk Management, was produced with International SOS and Control Risks. It sets out good practice for risk managers and provides a travel toolkit to help organisations improve their pre-, during- and post-travel policies. It offers advice on buying insurance, noting that it is "vital" organisations understand any exclusions and consider the impact of business travel on long-term covers, including those for permanent health and life assurance.
Download the guide Travel Risk Management.