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12 blogs of Christmas: Home for the holidays

12 blogs of Christmas: Home for the holidays

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The post-pandemic world is seeing a return to international business travel and overseas secondments. Although most travel restrictions have been lifted, many policies pertaining to international travel have changed – and this is something companies must be aware of. Where UK staff are contracted to be working overseas, this presents new business risks associated with the continued provision of insured group benefits, such as group life assurance and income protection. In order to protect your business and employees’ wellbeing, these risks must be identified and managed effectively. The good news is that many of these risks can be managed or eliminated, through good upfront planning and working closely with your group insurers. Travel-related risks can include the following:

  • Many group life and income protection schemes have been costed over the last two years based on minimum travel expectations. Renewal terms may see increased costs and restrictive terms.
  • Some insurers now have specific travel declaration requirements outside of allowable regions, and many will not guarantee cover without up-front provision of full details of overseas secondments
  • The war in Ukraine has created new danger hot spots with insurance restrictions
  • Insurers are now applying aviation limits on group life policies, limiting the maximum benefit payable arising from multiple deaths aboard a single aircraft.

To ensure that employees’ wellbeing is protected, companies should consider how their travel policies will apply in different scenarios which may cause complications. These considerations include:

  • Ensuring that you have and declare your company policies on the maximum number of employees who may travel together on the same aircraft
  • Some group insurers now provide free apps that give travel and health advice to employees travelling overseas, best enabling them to prepare for all eventualities: have these apps been communicated and made accessible?
  • Is there appropriate business travel insurance in place, which includes repatriation?
  • Where staff are on secondment, would it be more appropriate to insure UK employees using local coverage?
  • How the group income protection insurer might support sick employees based abroad, through both early intervention support and specific medical assessment requirements for a claim. Are these protections adequate, bearing in mind that policies may have changed, and are employees aware of the correct procedure in the event that they are needed?

If you have overseas business travel or secondments in your 2023 business plans, now would be a pertinent time to review your relevant insured group benefits. This is due to the fact that policies are likely to have changed since pre-pandemic travel. While some policy changes may require an update in employee communications and / or travel procedures, employers may find that their existing policies require updating in order to provide the most suitable coverage. By making sure that both employers and employees have clarity regarding their travel-related coverage, companies can best mitigate additional business costs and protect their employees’ wellbeing.