Insurance agents with commercial clients heading to Rio de Janeiro during the Olympics in coming weeks would do well not to settle for typical business travel insurance plans, says one leading industry executive.
“Whether it’s from a property/casualty standpoint or an accident/health standpoint, standard coverage is lacking,” Frank D’Ancona, senior vice president at Chubb, told Insurance Business America
. “From a broker standpoint, I would recommend taking time to evaluate the business travel accident form to determine whether it covers all exposures [related to international travel during the Olympics].”
Chubb is frequently involved in insuring business travel related to the Olympics, including members of the media and others organizations planning trips around the event. This year’s 16-day competition holds unique risks, however, including instances of civil unrest and political upheaval as well as petty and violent crime in certain Rio neighborhoods.
There is also the ongoing scare over the mosquito-transmitted Zika virus. Though global health officials have declared the area safe for travel, some women may elect not to attend. In this case, more comprehensive cancel-for-any-reason coverage is needed.
In the event of illness of any kind, or a serious accident, policies will also need to cover major medical overseas – not a provision typically included in standard accident and health policies.
“Of course, there’s a cost associated with adding that comprehensive coverage,” D’Ancona said.
One other concern is potential evacuation, whether for political, natural disaster or medical reasons. D’Ancona says the cost of evacuating immediately can sometimes exceed $100,000, and it is better to have the associated costs covered in advance to ensure the appropriate services are rendered.
Agents working with business clients hosting guests on a Rio trip will also need to make sure coverage is extended to all groups. Such guests could include spouses, dependents, directors and officers and clients of company.
“You should design a plan including coverage for these individuals, because gaps in medical coverage could exist,” D’Ancona explained. “Costs for medical care or cost for evacuation can be insured to cover these expenses at the point of service, so that care can be received without delay."
All told, agents should be mindful of three components of international business travel that may not be included in standard policies: medical coverage, comprehensive evacuation coverage and travel assistance services.
These latter risk management resources are included with many policies, and include up-to-date information on any health, safety, security or political conditions that could have bearing on an individual’s trip. It should be utilized before, during and even after a trip – say, if you were infected with Zika or a similar virus during a trip but did not exhibit symptoms until returning home.
“There is quite a bit going on in Rio, and you have to take it all under consideration,” D’Ancona said. “It’s most important to get familiarized with the area you’re traveling to – understand what’s happening. It’s key not to access the information once you’re there, but to use the tools before you travel.”
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