Duty of Care – A Proactive Approach to Travel Risk

Corporate travel is considered a priority segment by companies, owing to increasing globalization. It comes with the additional critical element of employee safety and security, mainly referred to as Duty of Care/Travel risk management. Duty of Care is the responsibility of employers to employees in maintaining their safety and security while working on international assignments or in remote areas of their home country. To achieve this, employers need to understand possible risks and their impact on employees.

Are travel managers considering all potential problems or threats that employees might face while travelling? Recent terror attacks such as Paris and Brussels were eye openers for travel managers, as companies were not fully equipped with travel risk management services, including personal support for each employee. Most of the businesses were only able to locate their employees by using basic services (such as travel tracking) provided by their Travel Management Companies (TMC). However, travel risk management is not only restricted to travel tracking or alerts. Its major focus is to understand the risks that exist or are anticipated, the potential impact and steps to reduce the impact to a level as low as reasonably practical. Though terrorism is considered as high or critical risk by the companies, this is not the only risk employees face while travelling. Employers or travel managers need to consider both critical and personal risk while designing safety services for employees. A risk which can cause injury or death is considered a critical threat and it mainly includes natural disaster, terrorism (violence and crime), political unrest, accidents, illness/disease and lack of medical care. However, there are few others (such as lost baggage or language barriers) that are not threats to an employee’s life but might impact productivity or create mental stress and thus falls under the low risk zone.

Are you considering the right supplier and services under your employee’s safety and security program? The supplier landscape in travel risk management is comprised of players from various categories, including TMC (AMEX and BCD), Travel Technology Solution Providers (Vismo and GeoPro), GDS (Sabre and Amadeus) and travel risk management companies (TRMC). However, travel risk management solutions are mainly provided by TRMC, and others integrate with them to provide part of the service to corporations. TRMC’s service portfolios include travel tracking, real time alerts (including country and place profiles, travel approval, physical assistance, evacuation and medical support) and customized solutions as per the client’s requirements. Major players in the TRMC category include International SOS specializing in medical evacuation, iJET in intelligence and risk assessment, Drum Cussac in risk consultation and evacuation, Red24 in non-medical and terror attack, e-travel technologies in risk analysis and response and Anvil Group.

Corporations generally connect with TMC such as BCD, AMEX and FCM managing both travel and employees’ safety and security. Services provided by these companies are limited to subscription services such as travel tracking, country risk report and alerts, as it’s not their core expertise. Therefore, they partner with travel risk management companies to provide these services.

Aligning with a TMC is mainly possible if company has a single TMC in the travel policy and no booking is done outside the travel policy. In other cases, where corporations engage with multiple TMCs and require extensive safety services, engaging with a TRMC is the best approach, as they manage all travel bookings (including out of policy) and provide customized services as per client requirements, especially in the area of response services and evacuations. Additionally, corporations benefit from subject matter experts who act as security and situational consultants in TRMC.

Companies are re-structuring their travel risk programs by moving from basic duty of care subscriptions or technology services to an emergency-assistance service which help travel managers feel prepared for unexpected events. Additionally, TMCs are more actively connecting customers to TRMCs to help them with more customized solutions.

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