for employees abroad
for employees abroad
Insurance protection for employees abroad
The recent political upheaval in the Middle East and the unprecedented catastrophe in Japan highlight the issues companies face when their employees work abroad in harm’s way. As situations deteriorated, companies struggled with decisions as to whether to withdraw all their foreign employees and faced the logistical challenges of evacuating employees and family members under sometimes difficult and dangerous conditions. In some cases, medical care needed to be procured for injured employees.
Organizations that require employees to travel or reside abroad need a comprehensive framework for managing the risks. Not only is this a moral responsibility, it is a legal obligation in many countries. According to legal experts, the employment relationship includes an obligation of Duty of Care of employers for the health, safety and security of their employees. The Duty of Care obligation extends to employees and their dependents who are abroad on company business.
Beyond the legal obligations of the Duty of Care, a comprehensive safety net can be an important factor for employees when deciding whether to take overseas assignments. Even for employees traveling and working in more tranquil regions of the world, security is a critical issue. U.S. employees need assurance that if they are injured, they will be eligible for at least the same level of benefits they would have received back home. Additionally, they want to know that they will have help dealing with an unfamiliar foreign health care system, that they have insurance coverage that is accepted by local hospitals, and that resources are available to help get them back home or to a better equipped medical facility.
The need for these services has existed as long as there have been foreign business travelers and expatriates. In the modern global economy, demand for them has never been greater. Thousands of U.S. citizens have taken assignments abroad. Rapidly growing emerging markets are especially attractive destinations.
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 2011 Global CEO Survey found that with much of Europe and North America still dealing with the lingering effects of the downturn, many companies looking for sustainable growth are aiming their sights on markets away from home. It revealed that U.S. CEOs are expecting to grow their operations internationally, particularly in Asia and Latin America.1
Brookfield Relocation Services, in their annual employee mobility survey, found that China, India, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates were the top emerging new locations for international assignments.2
A long-standing type of insurance for employees traveling or living abroad is Foreign Voluntary Workers’ Compensation (FVWC) coverage, often added as an endorsement to a domestic statutory workers’ compensation policy. The
endorsement offers on a voluntary basis insurance protection equivalent to domestic workers’ compensation insurance. FVWC, however, does not cover the full range of health and safety concerns of business travelers and expatriates. Some global insurers now offer a coordinated package of international insurance coverages
...a comprehensive safety net can be an important factor for employees when deciding whether to take overseas assignments.
Growth reimagined: Prospects in emerging markets drive CEO confidence, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 2011