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  • About Airmic

    Airmic is a members’ association supporting those responsible for risk management and insurance within their own companies. We have nearly 1200 individual members who represent over 450 companies.


Travel risk management for risk managers


Travel risks are on the increase and can have a big impact on a business, especially if not managed correctly. The subject will be discussed by International SOS at an annual conference workshop on Monday 11 June.

Hurricanes in the Caribbean, terror attacks in places previously considered safe; Ebola outbreak in the DRC, political tensions in the Korean peninsula and around the US embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem - these adverse incidents and geopolitical events have recently highlighted the need to manage risk to the safety, health and security of an increasingly mobile workforce.

Increasingly, this need is also recognised as a critical aspect of risk management and business resilience. For organisations with an international workforce, poor management of incidents affecting their employees can have significant financial, legal and reputational consequences. Managing travel risk should therefore not be just another item on a risk managers to-do list, but an essential part of an organisation's overall risk management framework.

Almost two-thirds of business decision makers perceive travel risks to have increased in the past year, according to the Ipsos MORI Global Business Resilience Trends Watch 2018. Travel plans were changed, predominantly due to concerns over security threats (58%), natural disasters (43%), and civil unrest (34%).

While organisations are increasingly implementing prevention and mitigation measures, there are still opportunities for them to improve and the biggest challenges they face with regard to protecting their mobile workforce have to do with traveller education, crisis communication, traveller tracking, and using resources efficiently. What these findings indicate is that managers are in danger of being drawn into a very low level of detail that could be addressed more expeditiously - time spent tracking people down and trying to communicate could be reduced in order to make additional time for addressing the bigger picture.

Risk professionals are often multi-tasking across a number of business objectives and travel risk responsibilities are often shared across an organisation, so coordination and identifying responsibilities is essential. The impact of this is amplified during a major crisis, like an extreme weather event or a terrorist attack which could affect a number of employees rather an individual. We have listed below some simple steps that any organisation can take to build resilience in travel risk management.

Top tips to improve resilience in travel risk

  1. Prepare: how will you respond?

Draw from previous experiences to identify best practices and likely pitfalls in your organisation. Ensure that your managers are aware of the roles they need to play - protecting your workforce is everyone's responsibility, but you cannot assume people will take this on intuitively. Spend time creating awareness and support so your managers feel a sense of ownership.

  1. During an incident: automate, automate, automate

Set up a system that will alert your people, check whether your people are okay and monitor their responses. Make sure you have a traveller tracking tool in place that will do the bulk of the work for you.

Even the best organisations may be out of their depth if the worst happens so ensure you have a backup plan if you cannot manage the crisis alone. One option is to nominate alternatives; another is to outsource the process to an assistance company.

  1. After an incident: template your management reports

Setting up a simple but flexible report template that can be modified quickly depending on the situation will help you communicate to your leadership team and show that you are in control. If integrated with your traveller tracking tool this will allow you to report and communicate in minutes.