Whether staff members are attending a conference or company retreat, are headed to meet a client or traveling to close an important deal in person, chances are good that their travel arrangements are one of the last things on their minds. However, as their employer, ensuring safe travel should be your top priority. Should anything unexpected come up during the trip, it's important that your employees are protected with a business travel insurance (also known as business travel accident insurance) policy they can rely on.
There are many travel insurance plans out there for business travelers and as the decision-maker for your organization, it's important that you make the right choice for your traveling workers. You need travel insurance plans that meet the specific needs of your employees and their trips. Before we look at how to find suitable coverage for your staff, let’s first explore what a typical business travel insurance plan has to offer and why it’s important for employers to make sure their workers are covered for any injury or accident that may occur during their business travels.
What Does Business Travel Insurance Offer?
While policies differ depending on the type of trip and how much coverage is needed, business travel insurance plans are meant to protect traveling workers from unexpected costs and risks that can come up during a trip.
But, what exactly does business travel insurance cover? Let’s take a look.
Medical emergencies can occur at any time, including during business trips. Accidentally consuming undrinkable water or unfamiliar foods or suffering from changes in altitude or weather could cause illness and require a trip to the emergency room. More serious medical emergencies, such as breaking a limb or suffering from a heart attack, are also a possibility and can cost up to thousands of dollars in some countries. Many travel medical insurance policies provide medical coverage and will cover most treatment and services, including ambulances, surgery, and emergency medical evacuation.
Costs Associated with Trip Delays or Cancellations
Trip insurance will cover costs related to trip delays and allow you to cancel your flight for a covered reason like inclement weather or death of a spouse. Unfortunately standard trip insurance won’t cover cancellations related to rescheduled overseas business meetings or canceled conferences. This is why offering your U.S. employees trip insurance with a Cancel For Any Reason option is so crucial. This add-on benefit allows you and/or your insured employee to cancel a trip for literally any reason and still recoup certain prepaid expenses like hotel deposits and conference space rentals.
Lost or stolen baggage
On business trips to attend conventions or meetings where it’s important to look professional, lost or stolen baggage can be stressful. Business travel insurance helps take the stress out of such situations, covering the costs to purchase replacement clothing and other personal items.
War and terrorism
In addition to covering the medical expenses from injuries incurred as a result of unexpect war attacks, travel insurance also covers evacuations and travel arrangements needed in the case of terrorism. Note, however, that travel insurance would only cover employees in case of a sudden unexpected attack. It won’t cover injuries sustained as a result of entering a known war zone or area of known to be rife with political unrest.
Why Employers Need Travel Insurance for Employees
If you're an employer or someone who travels for business, you've probably heard the term "Duty of Care." But you may not know exactly what that means. As an employer, it's important to be clear on what Duty of Care entails and how you can ensure it for your employees. Simply put, Duty of Care is defined as an employer's responsibility and obligation to protect their employee's health, safety and wellbeing while at work and/or performing work duties. One of the main ways you can help fulfill Duty of Care for your traveling employees is by purchasing employee travel insurance.
When you fail to take Duty of Care into account, you're putting your employees at risk. There may also be legal implications if an incident occurs and employer negligence can be proven.
Duty of Care & International Business Travel
When you set Duty of Care standards, you need to focus on your employees outside your workspace just as much as those in-house. Travel insurance is especially important for companies where employees travel often for work because business travel poses a number of risks. But, luckily for businesses, Duty of Care requirements for business travelers can be satisfied by Business Travel Insurance, or as it’s sometimes called, Business Travel Accident Insurance.
Other reasons to consider business travel insurance
In addition to meeting the minimum requirements for Duty of Care, there are other motivating factors for protecting your traveling workers with travel insurance. Let’s take a look:
- In-person meetings are important. There are many different avenues for digital communication these days, from email and chat to conference and video calls. In some key situations, though, there's simply no substitute for an in-person visit, especially when employees need to cement relations with a new client, resolve a key issue or tour an important site. Many of today's business activities are still sealed with a traditional, in-person handshake, and that requires staff members to make corporate trips.
- International business is on the rise. Speaking of situations that necessitate in-person presence, BBP Media found that more organizations are taking part in international travel activities, and these are the perfect opportunities for corporate travel. In fact, 58% of companies already work with customers and partners outside their main country and are making efforts for more worldwide networking.
- Liability insurance falls short. It's also important for decision-makers to understand that while their company may provide traditional liability insurance for employees, these policies don't cover certain situations that can come up with business travel. We'll explore this more in-depth below, but things like trip interruption, baggage delay or loss, and emergency medical services are not included in regular liability insurance. Companies need business travel insurance policies to support gaps in these types of coverage.
- Traveling employees have other priorities. When you want your employees to bring their best to an overseas business meeting, the last thing you want them to worry about is the travel arrangements. For their safety and well-being, it's important to find the best business travel insurance. Travel insurance plans can help ensure that travelers can focus on the purpose of their journey and prepare for any presentations or meetings, as opposed to worrying about scenarios such as how they'll pay for a new flight if their trip is canceled or a new suit if their bag is delayed.
Why Employees Need to Think about Travel Insurance
Business travelers who experience travel issues or accidents may not be reimbursed for the expenses. While duty of care is, in most countries including the U.S. a legal obligation, some companies may not be liable for reimbursing their employees for medical bills, lost baggage, and more, leaving their employees with up to thousands of dollars in healthcare bills and other costs. Travel insurance protects employees traveling on business trips against the potential financial risk involved with traveling abroad.
If an employer doesn’t offer travel insurance, it might be tempting for the employee to consider the trip and travel insurance offered by travel booking sites and credit cards. But the coverage won’t provide the same level or quality of protection for business travelers. These business travel insurance plans will likely have worse coverage, fewer benefits, and many exclusions.
Unlike vacationers and those traveling for leisure purposes, business travelers have much more at stake when traveling abroad. Business trips can be stressful enough, and huge medical bills resulting from not buying travel insurance will only add to the hassle. Protect yourself from common business trip incidents by purchasing business travel insurance for your next business trip abroad.
Choosing Travel Insurance: What to Look For
There are a lot of travel insurance plans on the market. While having so many options for protecting your traveling employees may seem like a good thing, it actually makes your decision harder. How do you know you’re giving your employees the right coverage?
Look for a top underwriter
When deciding on business travel insurance, it's best to look for a provider that works with top underwriters, entities responsible for assessing the risks of insuring an individual. Although underwriters represent the insurer, their reputation is important to travelers. Knowing that plan benefits were assessed and approved after careful risk assessment gives the traveler peace of mind and more confidence that as long as their claim meets the plan standards, it should be covered without hassle. You’ll want to do some research to determine if the underwriter of a plan you’re considering is reputable.
Check out AM Best ratings & customer reviews
In addition to finding a plan with a top underwriter you’ll also want to look for a plan with a high AM Best rating. AM Best is an independent agency that accesses the quality of insurance plans and grades them accordingly. Most of the plans available through VisitorsCoverage have an A letter grade.
Customer reviews can be a wonderful way to determine whether a plan is right for your employees, but you’ll want to assess these carefully. While one customer may rave about a plan, another may pan it completely. Here are some helpful tips for assessing travel insurance reviews and ratings.
Look into multi-trip travel insurance
Business travel insurance is best for people who take frequent trips for their company and need a safety net for trip protection and emergency medical services while they travel. Multi-trip insurance, or as it’s often called, annual trip insurance, ensures that employees who travel on a regular basis have the coverage they need without having to purchase a new policy every trip. Multi-trip policies typically support a traveler from 364 days to up to three years of coverage. The policies may cover U.S. & non-U.S. travelers under the age of 76. Travelers can use their policies to cover trips lasting up to 45 days but policies must be purchased before their date of departure.
Consider their destination & the nature of their work
Depending on what your company does and where your employees are likely to be sent, you may want to make sure your policy offers coverage specific to their destination and nature of their work. If the work they do is considered dangerous, be sure to think about every aspect of their safety. You may need to consider a policy that includes kidnap & ransom or accidental death and dismemberment coverage. If the destination country is considered dangerous, either for its remoteness lack of medical resources or relative inaccessibility or its political unrest, there are different types of emergency evacuation coverage to consider.
Count on a travel insurance marketplace
Working with a travel insurance solution provider that can offer these options means that businesses will find specific policies to meet their exact needs, and can protect their traveling employees without having to purchase more coverage than necessary. Marketplaces will often have comparison and quote tools so you have a good idea what you’re opting into before you spend your money.
Have more questions or need assistance in finding the best business travel insurance plans for your company and your employees? Our Customer Success Team is happy to help.,