Tag Archives: travel insurance

Keep your technology safe and secure when travelling for business

By Emma Drew

August 17, 2016

Keep your technology safe and secure when travelling for business

Advancements in technology have made business travel easier in recent years but there are still a number of security risks to consider before travelling including cyber-crime which is a growing concern for many businesses operating overseas.

Cyber criminals conduct their attack through numerous sophisticated methods to obtain sensitive corporate data through phishing, whaling and other forms of social engineering.

Before travelling it is advisable your company carries out a risk assessment to ensure company information is safe and secure whilst working overseas.

Failure to implement appropriate security measures could result in data loss and lead to a breach of confidentiality, damage to business reputations, financial losses and compromised client relationships.

Tips on keeping your technology safe when travelling:

  • Do not leave electronic devices unattended including mobile phones as SIM cards could easily be removed by someone to make expensive calls from your account.
  • Ensure locks are secure in your hotel room to avoid someone breaking and entering to steal your valuables.
  • Be cautious when using public networks in hotels and cafes as pop ups could be malicious spyware.
  • Entities in foreign countries have been known to create fake security updates when a user connects to the local network and then installs malware and spyware to the user’s computer.
  • Ensure your computer is installed with the latest anti-virus, spyware, security and firewalls.
  • Before you travel it is wise to email yourself electronic copies of your passport, travel documentation, driver’s licence and credit cards in the event these items are lost or stolen. Therefore you must ensure your email account is locked by a password only you have access to.
  • Clear your internet browser after each use.
  • Never store valuables or electronic devices in checked luggage.
  • If you run into trouble keep the phone number and address of your Embassy or Consulate in the country you are visiting
  • Be cautious when speaking to strangers who could be probing you for personal information and be aware of your surroundings as conversations may not be private.
  • When you return from your visit review your computer system and electronic devices for malware and change all passwords including voicemail.

Travel is a necessary requirement for conducting business agreements overseas and should be a legal obligation of organisations to ensure both staff and company equipment are protected when working abroad.

Travel insurance can provide protection to cover the costs of stolen technology and cyber policies can also provide valuable access to specialist resources in the event of a loss of data or system failure, but you should check with your insurance provider first before you travel to ensure business travel is conducted as safely as possible.

How can we help?

For more information please speak to your usual insurance representative or call us on 0121 698 8000.

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Travel Insurance for extreme sports abroad

By Emma Drew

August 11, 2016

Travel Insurance for extreme sports abroad

A Judo star was left with severe head injuries after a motor bike accident whilst teaching in Vietnam but at the time of her crash, her insurance company refused to pay for her medical treatment. 

The crash happened when the woman’s dress became caught in the wheel of the bike, causing her to fall off and hit her head on the road where she ended up in a coma in intensive care and fighting for her life.

The young woman, who was a frequent traveller and had participated in many worldwide sporting events understood the importance of travel insurance. Prior to her trip she took out a twelve month policy with a reputable high street store, but at the time of her crash, she was left in an ambulance outside of the hospital for over three hours before receiving emergency medical treatment when doctors realised her travel insurance was invalid. In the clause of the travel policy’s terms and conditions, it wasn’t clearly stipulated that the cover was only valid for 31 days per trip, but the accident happened four months into this particular trip, by which time the policy had expired and the young woman was deemed uninsured.

A case like this highlights the seriousness and importance of having the right type of travel insurance cover in place, especially if you are planning to use vehicles such as motor bikes whilst abroad as the medical costs resulting from an accident may not be covered within the remit of a standard travel insurance policy. This also applies if you are planning on taking part in any extreme sporting activities whilst on holiday. Extreme sports include jet-skiing, scuba diving, rock climbing, abseiling, white-water rafting, shark cage diving and bungee jumping.

Research by The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) found that those aged between 18-34 were least likely to take out travel insurance, saying it was far too expensive to pay the extra premiums on top of the costs of their holiday, especially as the more dangerous the activity is, the higher the premium increased for travel insurance. However, the cost of the extra insurance premium would be minor in comparison to the tens of thousands of pounds you could potentially have to pay for medical expenses and repatriation costs back to the UK.

The insurance cover available will vary depending on which travel providers you choose. Most travel policies will include standard cover for some sporting activities but will also give you the option to upgrade and extend your cover for any high risk sports. It is important to have an idea of the kind of activities you would be doing before you book your holiday to ensure you will be fully protected.

If you do take out a standard travel policy but once you are away decide to take part in an extreme sport you should ring your insurance provider to see if you can extend your policy cover. However, not all providers will be able to amend your policy once you have left for your holiday and therefore it is down to you to assess whether the risk is worth taking.

Furthermore, if you do decide to take the risk, you should read any documentation carefully before signing anything that states you agree to undertake any dangerous sporting activity as you could in fact be signing a disclaimer which could exempt the company from any responsibility of protecting you with their insurance cover in the event of an accident.

You should check the details of your policy for whether you need to be accompanied by a qualified instructor whilst taking part in extreme sports, especially if you have little previous experience in the sport you are participating in.

Safety should be your number one priority before booking your holiday and ensuring you have the correct insurance cover in place rather than relying on the false assumption that such an accident would never happen to you.

The young woman has fortunately since made a remarkable recovery, after a donations page was set up to help her with the costs of her medical treatment and repatriation back to the UK and is progressing back to fitness through her passion for Judo sport.

 

How can we help?

Howden’s travel policy provides instant cover for personal accident and medical costs. For more information please speak to your usual insurance representative or call us on 0121 698 8000.

 

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The Zika Virus over-shadowing major sports events

By Emma Drew

August 4, 2016

The Zika Virus over-shadowing major sports events

The Zika virus surrounding the news headlines recently has clouded the final preparations of a major sporting event taking place in Brazil, with many athletes concerned for their health, with some undecided on whether to pull out of the tournament altogether. 

The International Olympic Committee and the British Olympic Association, in discussion with The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the country as a safe place to visit despite the fears regarding the Zika virus becoming an international concern.

Clusters of the virus have been reported in areas such as El Salvador, Brazil, and French Polynesia. Reports of a senior neurological condition that can lead to paralysis have also risen in affected areas caused by the Virus.

What is the Zika virus?

The Zika virus was first discovered in Uganda in 1947, but human outbreaks have only recently been discovered. It is a disease transmitted primarily through mosquito bites and has the potential to reach pandemic levels, according to reports by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Treatment

There is currently no vaccination to cure the Zika virus. Once a person is infected, the incubation period for the virus is approximately 3-12 days. However, Hospitalization and death is rare.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Arthralgia
  • Conjunctivitis

Every effort needs to be made to manage the exposures related to the virus, especially amongst pregnant women.  A mother already infected with the Zika virus can pass the virus onto her new born around the time of birth.

There has also been an associated increase of microcephaly, a congenital condition linked with incomplete brain development in new born babies. Women returning from affected countries have been advised to postpone becoming pregnant for at least one month after they return home and pregnant women who have recently travelled to an affected area should seek medical evaluation because perinatal transmission of the Zika virus has been known to cause poor foetal outcomes.

Transmitting the virus

The disease is most commonly transmitted through mosquito bites when they feed off a person already infected with the virus. Mosquitos can bite people at any time as they reside indoors as well as outdoors and most commonly bite at night.

The virus can also be spread through sexual transmission and in one case the virus was spread a few days before symptoms developed. At present there have been no confirmed reports of the virus being transmitted through blood transfusion, although multiple cases have been reported in Brazil, which are currently being investigated and incidents were also reported during the French Polynesia outbreak where 2.8% of blood donors tested positive for the Zika virus.

Insurance cover for Zika

As an employer, if your employees are due to spend a short period of time in a country where there is a known risk of exposure to the virus, it is necessary to purchase a Foreign Voluntary Worker’s Compensation policy that covers endemic disease.

The Foreign Voluntary Worker’s Compensation (FVWC) provides coverage for injuries resulting from an indigenous disease declaration to which an employee is exposed to while abroad for work purposes. For those in association with the British Travel Accident (BTA), employers should note that there may be limitations or exclusions for exposure to the Zika virus. In addition, employees need to be fully informed about the risks of the Zika virus prior to accepting any overseas work opportunities.

Employers liability could come into action if a pregnant employee is sent to an affected country and contracts the Zika virus. However, claims for birth defects or other injuries to new-born’s may present coverage challenges under Worker’s Compensation but could fall within the scope of the Employer’s General Liability cover. Incidents and injuries related to the Zika virus may present multiple challenges for risk and claims management insurers and employers will need to review their polices carefully and adjust or amend coverage as necessary.

How can we help?

For more information on the issues raised in this article or to discuss your travel insurance requirements please contact us on 0121 698 8000.

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Bombing Incidents: Security Advice

By Emma Drew

March 29, 2016

Bombing Incidents: Security Advice

Perkins Slade guest blog is brought to you by Drum Cussac.

Following more recent terror attacks the blog provides some useful guidance for anyone travelling abroad and outlines the precautionary measures individuals can take to minimise their personal risk.

While some of the following advice may seem obvious, it is worth reiterating. Often taking the simplest precautions can make a dramatic difference.

While travelling or going about your business: 

  • Though by its nature a bombing may occur with little or no warning, stay well informed of the security environment and the threats
  • Read foreign travel advice and information given by your nearest embassy or consulate
  • Be vigilant, take notice of your surroundings, and report any suspicious object, package, person or activity to police immediately
  • Limit the time you spend in hotel lobbies, in the vicinity of security installations and in transport hubs – all of these are popular targets
  • If you are in an environment with a raised threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), selection of your hotel room can make all the difference. The optimum floor is the third floor as it offers distance from a vehicle-borne IED and yet keeps you in reach of ladders for emergency services. Try to select a room which is not above reception, preferably at the rear of the building
  • In higher risk geographies, avoid queues (vehicle or pedestrian) outside potential targets such as embassies, night clubs, sports events, refineries etc.
  • Note any individuals loitering outside restricted and controlled security zones, suspicious vehicles and any other unusual incidents
  • Do not leave any luggage unattended. Terrorists have planted bombs in the luggage of unsuspecting travellers. Wrapping bags in plastic may improve security when using airports and train stations
  • Only accept luggage or packages from a friend, colleague or family member whom you know very well indeed – it can be easier to have a blanket ban and refuse all such requests
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel threatened in any way, leave the immediate area. Attempt to put distance between you and the threat and, if possible, stay out of line-of-sight
  • Plan your exit in advance: know how you would get out of a building, public area or transport hub in an emergency. Know where your emergency exits are and identify which floor you are on in case you need to take the stairs or notify someone of your location
  • On arrival at your hotel, walk the route from your room to the street via the fire escape. It will improve your chances of finding it safely in the dark or in smoke. It will also prove that the route is clear and not locked

Potential suspicious activity that may indicate an attack is being planned could take the form of:

  • Groups or individuals taking significant interest in the location of CCTV, parking areas, service yards, doors and entrances
  • Activity inconsistent with the nature and routine of the building or working environment
  • Individuals loitering in restricted areas
  • Missing security passes, uniforms or vehicles
  • A pattern or series of false alarms indicating possible testing of security systems and observation of response behaviour and procedures (bomb threats, leaving hoax devices or packages)
  • Overt or covert photography, video cameras, possession of photographs, maps and blueprints of facilities and critical infrastructures, including electricity transformers, gas pipelines and telephone cables

If there is an explosion:

  • It may sound obvious, but get under a sturdy table or structure if things are falling around you. When they stop falling, leave quickly, watching for obviously weakened structures
  • Leave the area as quickly as possible once it is safe to do so. Do not stop to retrieve personal possessions or make phone calls
  • Do not use elevators or block emergency exits
  • An initial explosion may be designed to force people into a larger, main attack, so be aware of the dangers of secondary devices. A secondary explosion may be larger than the first in a bid to snare emergency responders or those trying to help the injured. Avoid moving to crowded areas as these are obvious targets for secondary attacks
  • Beware of flying glass debris, from either a primary or secondary incidents. Avoid buildings constructed predominantly of glass and be sure to take refuge away from such buildings when evacuating
  • If there is a fire after the blast, stay low to the ground, cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing, and leave the area as quickly as possible

Guidance on vehicle bombs

 Be vigilant of:

  • Vehicles that appear weighed-down and may have had their interiors stripped down and rebuilt. The interior of the vehicle may also have odd protrusions or visible wires
  • Vehicles parked outside entrances or unusual areas for longer than normal, possibly with one or more people remaining in the vehicle
  • Delivery vehicles arriving at premises outside normal delivery times
  • Vehicles emitting suspicious odours, such as fuel or gas
  • Vehicles looking out of place (terrorists sometimes use the ruse of a broken down vehicle)
  • Suspicious vehicles left in car parks, possibly for a prolonged period of time
  • Erratic or suspicious driving of vehicles around buildings
  • The same or similar individuals returning to carry out the same activity in different sized vehicles

Please note, for more guidance relating to the locations where you have people and assets or which your business travellers visit, talk to us and we will be able to provide personalised advice. Visit Drum Cussac.

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Ebola, what does it mean for your travel insurance?

By Emma Drew

September 8, 2014

Ebola, what does it mean for your travel insurance?

On 8th August, the World Health Organisation (WHO) described the Ebola outbreak as a ‘public health emergency of international concern’. The worst Ebola epidemic in history has resulted in 1,550 deaths and at least 3,000 people have been infected with the virus.

WHO is now warning that more than 20,000 people are likely to be infected as the virus spreads through Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. A separate Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has claimed the lives of 31 people.

What is Ebola?

Ebola is spread by body fluids, such as blood and saliva and symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage. There is no vaccine or cure and the fatality rate can reach 90% – the current outbreak has a mortality rate of about 55%.

WHO travel advice

Who has advised that the risk of becoming infected with the Ebola virus during a visit to an affected area and developing the disease after returning is extremely low, even if the visit included travel to the local areas from which primary cases have been reported.

Transmission requires direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected living or dead persons or animals, all of which are unlikely exposures for the average traveller.

If you are visiting family or friends in affected areas, the risk is similarly low, unless you have direct physical contact with a person who is ill or who has died. If this is the case, it is important to notify public health authorities and engage in contact tracing. Contact tracing is used to confirm you have not been exposed to the Ebola virus and to prevent further spread of the disease through monitoring.

How is your insurance affected?

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all but essential travel to affected areas. Check with your insurance broker as your policy will probably not provide cover if you travel to a country or area/region against the advice of the FCO.

International evacuation of patients with Ebola or other Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers may be hampered by limited resources, the directives of local and international medical authorities and/or governmental restrictions.

It may not be possible for insurers of patients with active clinical symptoms of Ebola to provide evacuation/repatriation policy benefits in all circumstances, talk to your insurance broker to check the limits on your policy for medical expenses and before deciding whether to travel to or remain in affected areas.

For more information, please speak to your usual Perkins Slade contact or call 0121 698 8000 and ask to speak to a member of the Corporate Team or email corporate@perkins-slade.com

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Summer travel insurance advice

By Emma Drew

July 15, 2014

Summer travel insurance advice

Recent research by ABTA, the Travel Association, shows many Brits are unaware of the costs of medical treatment abroad and may be putting themselves at risk of sky high medical bills by travelling uninsured.

 

Did you know that:

•  48% of people don’t realise they’d be liable for their own medical bills abroad if they don’t have travel insurance

•  £5,000 (or less) is the amount that 47% of Britons believe a broken leg would cost in the USA. £40,000 is the actual cost of this treatment

•  Treatment for a stomach bug recently treated in a Californian hospital, with return flights to the UK, cost £100,000

•  26% of travellers think a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will cover repatriation to the UK. It won’t.

Whether you’re going away for a well-earned weekend break, or planning a family holiday, we know the last thing on your mind is insurance, but in the event of something going wrong, make your holiday hassle free with our travel insurance.

Travel Plus insurance

Travel Plus provides wide-ranging cover with added-value benefits giving you peace of mind and protection both before and during your trip.

Choose the policy that best suits your requirements and be assured of a first class claims service together with 24 hour medical emergency assistance, just in case you need it.

Key features:

•  Single Trip and Annual Multi-trip

•  Children go free if under 18, or under 23, if in full time education

•  Independent travel cover for children under Annual Multi Trip ‘Family’ policy

•  Financial Failure cover

•  Cancellation and curtailment

•  Journey disruption including airspace closure

•  Cover for emergency medical expenses

•  Over 100 activities covered FREE

•  Winter sports cover

•  Travel risks – hijack, kidnap, mugging and catastrophe cover.

Get a quote and learn more about the benefits Travel Plus provides

 

 

 

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