Are you prepared to handle an emergency when someone is injured, becomes ill or experiences a security threat while traveling overseas? While event cancellation insurance protects a performer who becomes unavailable due to illness or injury, it does not address precautions and planning required for overseas travel exposures such as heightened medical attention and security risks.
- Do you know what hospital is the best to go to?
- Do you know how to evacuate someone to a higher level of care in another country?
- Do you know what to do when the security gets worse?
Answering these questions and taking reasonable precautions to protect yourself from recognized hazards before, during and after overseas travel have become known as the duty of care. Not maintaining a standard duty of care can create potential liability as well as result in significant unplanned medical and security costs. It is important to note that the standard of care applies to anyone on an overseas assignment, even while away from the workplace.
KNOW YOUR RISKS
Medical illnesses that occur while traveling are common and can happen when the physical demands of travel causes a pre-existing condition to flare up or when exposed to a new bacteria or virus. Some incidents require immediate medical attention. Finding, obtaining, and paying for medical care in a country where you have no physician or hospital relationships, no immediate access to personal medical records, and do not speak the local language, can create many complications.
Injuries abroad can become serious as the health care infrastructure in many places around the world do not have the same standards as those in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. What happens if you’re injured and in need of emergency surgery or involved in a vehicle accident and require significant medical attention?
A member from a popular US band was rushed to a hospital in Saint Barthélemy after injuring his shoulder that resulted in a delay of the entire tour. In another instance a well-known national news correspondent was involved in a taxi accident on the Island of Tortola. He was medically evacuated back to the US and was off the air for several weeks in order to recover.
Security threats due to global economic and political instability have increased significantly. It is critical to have an action plan in case of an emergency, such as political unrest, extortion, or a threat of terrorism.
Virtual kidnapping is an act where scammers make calls claiming a loved one has been kidnapped and demands an immediate transfer of money to have them released. The scam involves making sure the person allegedly kidnapped cannot be reached.
In one example, a Spanish musical group while touring in Mexico was told to change hotels and destroy their current mobile phones. The band’s family members were given a ransom demand of $380,000 for the release of the band members. Ultimately, the band was found safe but the disruption led to the cancellation of a US show.
Kidnapping for ransom and detention may be less frequent but can also occur. Musicians can be detained and have their instruments confiscated for small amounts of elephant ivory, Brazilian rosewood and tortoiseshell on the instrument itself. Kidnapping also occurs around the world for political, religious and monetary reasons. In 2011, a professional baseball player was kidnapped in Venezuela that required a government rescue effort.
Follow these 10 steps to manage your travel risk
- Conduct a risk assessment of the destination(s). Visit http://www.usembassy.gov/ for country specific information.
- Determine an air carrier with a positive safety record.
- Determine a safe and secure form of ground transportation and hotel accommodations.
- Determine the best hospital available.
- Identify primary, alternate and emergency communication methods.
- Develop a trip brief with safety and security recommendations and basic emergency procedures.
- Ensure the itinerary is being tracked or that others know the itinerary specifics.
- Monitor for emergencies including extreme weather, violence or diseases outbreaks.
- Know who to call 24/7 to get assistance in case of a crisis.
- Talk to your broker to identify the most appropriate insurance policies.