The increase of staff being assigned to assignments in riskier locations has businesses transforming their Duty of Care policies

The number of employees being sent on short or long term assignments abroad is increasing. In fact nearly half (46%) of HR professionals expect more staff to be sent on long-term international assignments over the next three years. This has lead businesses to review their Duty of Care policies in terms of what international Private Medical Insurance (iPMI) can offer to the security, safety and health of staff.

According to the independent survey by Collinson Group, almost a quarter (23%) of respondents are increasing the number of employees deployed to ‘tier two’ emerging economies such as China and Russia. A further 8% are managing reassignments to frontier territories such as Nigeria and Argentina.

“Businesses recognise the strong growth prospects that emerging economies and frontier markets offer. These are often fuelled by factors such as improved trade, credit ratings and investment with rapidly growing populations, giving rise to major infrastructure development,” says Lawrence Watts, Commercial Director at Collinson Group. “However, they also acknowledge that the heightened risk profile of many of these locations requires duty of care and iPMI policies that are fit for purpose. Businesses have the option of using our security and risk alerts as part of their offering, for instance.”

While this may be an exciting and potentially profitable opportunity for many businesses, there are several risks to making this move. Whether it be terror threats, civil unrest or even natural disasters, living and working in these countries is regarded as a higher risk by insurers.

As a result more than half (56%) of businesses are demanding more travel and security advice from their iPMI providers, this was the most vital product or service for long-term international assignments.

“In Nigeria, for example, we are seeing an increase in the level of healthcare provision locally. However, a lack of reliability on medical supplies, combined with the challenge of securing and retaining the appropriate clinical staff, may mean that treatment out of the country is still required.” Michelle Elmore, Head of Business Development, Accident and Health at Collinson adds.

In the current climate, businesses are leaning on their iPMI providers to provide services that go beyond health and medical issues. In fact, 79% of HR professions stated it was important to have security, repatriation, pre-travel arrangements and cultural advice to support their relocated. If a business is committed to reassigning an employee, they need to ensure staff have access to the best-quality care – for them and their families- wherever they are in the world.