There are many risks involved with travel that can be eased with insurance, from natural disasters to human error. It’s a sad fact that human intent should also be placed firmly on that list. Being kidnapped abroad isn’t as easily avoided as sticking to the tourist areas and being careful about which invitations you accept. The figures exceed 100,000 kidnappings a year and the numbers aren’t confined to any particular demographic. Far more kidnappings are suspected to have gone unrecorded due to international ambiguities in defining the term. Whether it’s business or pleasure that takes you abroad, there are dangerous realities to consider to be as safe as you can.
The most recent figures
This crisis report for 2017 reveals Africa, Mexico, Libya, Somalia and Turkey ranked in the Top Ten most dangerous countries to visit with the highest ransom –a staggering $950,000 USD. Europe remains a low-risk area for kidnapping but the threat of terrorist attacks in highly populated areas is an escalating issue. The global situation for kidnaps, ransoms and attacks is such that the report states that “anticipating the spectrum of hazards will test the most travel savvy tourist or security practitioner.” So how does a traveler get themselves prepared?
Stay informed and up to date
Resources like the Global Incident Map can be a great tool for assessing the relevant risk statistics. It allows users to access data by selecting country, incident type and infrastructure affected alongside other parameters.
Using the global incident map will furnish information beyond the common-sense areas to avoid (for instance if American forces are currently engaged in combat with certain nations, avoiding those nations is a given). The Department of State offers this resource to check the number of U.S. deaths abroad from causes including violent human intervention.
Another resource is Hostage US, who place their best estimate at 200-300 Americans kidnapped overseas each year. They operate a helpline and offer support, information and resources on kidnap and ransom as it relates to U.S. citizens.
Kidnapping in the modern age
Our progress as a society sadly means that criminals are progressing too. The phenomenon of the “virtual kidnapping” is becoming ever more prominent. This scam sees “kidnappers” targeting victims via social media then contacting their loved ones to falsely claim they’re being held for ransom. The video in the link highlights this and suggests travelers limit online social information and that family and friends demand proof that their loved one is being held. The FBI offers a further insight into virtual kidnapping here.
What kidnap and ransom insurance will cover
When taking out this type of insurance, you’ll want to be covered in the event of:
• Death or severe injury during a kidnap and ransom situation
• Costs for any interruptions to your business practice
• Loss of finances due to ransom demands, kidnap or extortion
• Protection against loss of corporate assets through robbery and theft
• Provision of crisis support, medical expenses and counselling
The cost of kidnap insurance is like any other policy in that there will be variable factors which will dictate the precise cost.
Should anyone in particular purchase it?
While the figures show that every traveler faces kidnap and ransom risk, there are those who should be extra cautious. Will you or your staff be operating in a foreign country where you will appear financially affluent or influential? Are you operating an aid or charity concern in low income/poverty stricken areas or regions of civil unease?
If so, it would be wise to protect yourself and your team against kidnapping, accidents or the other costs listed above. The insurance may also extend to cover relatives of the policy holders.
Kidnap and ransom insurance was traditionally a concern for the wealthy or the corporate operating abroad. The sad situation of the modern world has seen kidnap and ransom grow in likelihood for anyone visiting a foreign country. If you feel it’s something you want to know more about, speak with an insurance specialist for an accurate appraisal of your situation.
Avante Insurance is a South Florida family owned and operated insurance agency providing an array of insurance services to meet customer’s individual needs. If you’re preparing to take a trip, you can call us at 305-648-7070, request an insurance quote or contact us with any questions or comments.