Insurance alone cannot manage 21st century travel risk

Published on Mon, 27/03/2017 - 16:29

Only 16% of Airmic members have high confidence in their travel risk framework

Travel risk management strategies should be updated to take account of the modern workforce and real-time global information, according to Airmic. In a guide on travel risk published today, the association says that business travel risk is today more complex and blanket travel policies are no-longer sufficient.

Business travel has grown by 25% over the last decade, with businesses sending employees to a wider range of territories including high or extreme risk regions. Businesses have a legal duty of care to protect their employees, yet only 16% of Airmic members surveyed have high confidence in their travel risk management framework.

In response to this, Airmic has produced a guide to travel risk with International SOS and Control Risks. It sets out best practice for risk managers and provides a travel toolkit to help members improve their pre-, during- and post-travel policies.

According to the association, businesses need flexible strategies that can respond to the wide range of factors that can convert a low-risk destination into a high risk destination. Purchasing travel insurance alone cannot achieve this.

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The report also notes that today there are a greater diversity of people travelling - including more women, junior staff, students and people with disabilities. "Organisations need to risk profile not only the destination of travel, but how this risk changes in response to the individual travelling." It advises, for example:

  • Providing appropriate training to women travelling to a destination with gender-specific legal of cultural restrictions;
  • Ensuring reasonable adjustments are made to support travel for individuals with disabilities to ensure compliance with the Equality Act 2010;
  • Enhanced pre- and during-travel controls for students, apprentices, interns and volunteers as several risks can be magnified when younger individuals and students are involved.

Colin Campbell, head of risk management and compliance at Arcadia, and one of the risk managers interviewed for the report, said that travel risk has come under the spotlight in the past few years: "Travel risk has moved up the risk agenda as there is a valid perception that more areas are considered risky areas of travel, that traditionally were considered relatively low risk. This is accompanied by increased pressure from our stakeholders to monitor and manage our travel risk."

He added that experience has taught him that good communication is vital. "For example, the Icelandic earthquake disrupted the travel plans of many of our employees. However, by providing rapid assurance that they could feel free to arrange alternate travel within specified financial limits they were quickly empowered to make arrangements. The overall lesson is communication is absolutely key."