Working in a 'Hot Zone'? Insurance Decisions Are Critical

From the Middle East to North Africa, companies should have more of a watchful eye on political risk safety measures and insurance coverage rather than in the markets right now, according to a Mail & Guardian Online report. Author Fiona Zerbst recently spoke with Steyn McDowall of Aon Risk Solutions, the global risk management business of Aon Corporation, which advises companies how to assess political risk and cope with potential unrest.

McDowall, regional director of crisis management at Aon South Africa, told Zerbst that companies operating in high-risk countries need to put crisis management plans in place that cover all types of disasters, including natural disasters, terrorism and kidnapping. Monitoring events on the ground remains critical as well.

Aon's Political Risk Map and Terrorism Threat Map show risk factors of setting up a business in a particular region or country. Currently in South Africa, for example, the map concludes that the area is currently "medium-low risk," with factors like strikes, riots, civil commotion, terrorism and supply-chain disruption currently affecting the country. McDowall pointed out the importance of companies ensuring that they are covered for losses, damage and potential harm to their staff.

What should companies and individuals be insured against? McDowall said that companies can't rely upon travel insurance and medical insurance alone. "Many policies don't cover political risk extraction per se, and the cover must be added by way of addition to a travel policy. Stand-alone policies tend to be very expensive if available," he said in the article.

Companies also need to be sure that staff members are trained and don't put themselves in dangerous situations.

For more information about working in a "hot zone," read the full article:http://mg.co.za/article/2011-03-28-working-in-a-hot-zone-hows-your-insurance