Business travel spending shot up by 30% in 2015, but following the divisive and ever-shifting landscape of 2016, companies have been left in a difficult situation. The Collinson Group has released advice covering the key aspects of business travel and how to reduce risks abroad in a time of increasing civil unrest around the world.
One way to ensure safety, according to the Collinson Group, is through peer-to-peer networks and the sharing of information. Providing information to employees when abroad needs to be a two-way street, as setting up processes for staff such as instant messaging like Skype or a recognition platform like Wooboard allows for staff to report information themselves. Anything from a travel delay to a more serious disruption can be identified and dealt with quickly.
Travelling to a different country with a different culture can result in unforeseen accidents that can lead to situations escalating out of control without warning. This can involve legal, medical or even ransom cover. Inadvertently breaking a strictly enforced law abroad, even owning prescribed medication can lead to misunderstandings that need to be addressed quickly. Extending cover and insurance to make sure that threats such as disease, or even physical attacks and kidnapping are within your insurance policy are particularly important in areas where these incidents are more commonplace.
The report comes as many companies are beginning to avoid travel due to global disruptions. Although there are indications that many companies want to expand and travel abroad as the world gets more connected, 82% of companies have admitted that the volatile nature of the global and political economy of the last year has increased the likelihood of divestment over the next year. However, the Collinson Group believe that with the right coverage and the right safety procedures in place, there’s still plenty of opportunity across the globe.
“The days of simply buying a general business travel accident policy without overlaying company travel patterns and exposure within a corporate travel framework are long gone,” said Randall Gordon-Duff, Head of Product, Corporate Travel, Collinson Group. “Companies need to take a proactive stance by building specific travel risk guidance and procedures around their insurance cover and actively look to protect their staff against these risks.”
Going both ways, 73% of businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa cite Brexit as a leading factor for considering pulling out of international deals, although only 62% believed in divestment created long term value, indicating a reluctance to pull out of the increasingly global economy.
“In many cases, we are observing impulsive divestment decisions by companies feeling pressured by external factors to take quick action, often at the cost of realizing maximum value,” said Steve Krouskos, vice chair of EY Global. “The impact of too much speed on sale price is significant, and should motivate companies to be strategic and measured by prioritizing value when navigating a sale process.”
Almost a third of firms do not extend their protection to ‘bleisure travel,’ leisure days tagged onto a business trip. The report urges employees and employers to discuss the terms of their deal beforehand to ensure those travelling know what they’re getting into, and know when and where they’re covered.
“Insurance companies are increasingly working with assistance providers to provide a solution that extends cover and response for their clients to ensure their products are fit for duty of care,” said Randall Gordon-Duff. “They can help firms fulfil their duty of care obligations to ensure that their travelling employees are always being looked after no matter where they are.”