hostile locations.” A key feature of Tangiers International’s app, she explains, is a GPS- linked map that, in the event of a disaster and with no connectivity, still allows the company to locate the insured client. Based on satellite technology, it can send location co-ordinates every two, five, 10, 30 or 60 minutes, depending on the need and set- up, and pre-set messages to the company’s security assistance crisis response team and next of kin, as well as having the ability to contact the 24/7 operations team directly. Terrorist attacks on soft targets – such as in Paris, museums and beaches in Tunisia, and London – mean that security is now a concern not only for corporate executives, VIPs and expats but also for tourists. “Security benefits,” says Mark Rands, Head of Assistance at Intana Group, part of the Collinson Group in the UK, “are an element that consumers might want to consider, though the products that best adapt to this evolving need are those that also provide robust 24/7 security advice and response, in addition to the financial benefits. If an incident occurs, a truly comprehensive product should inform policyholders about the destination’s risks and explain how to mitigate them if they do decide to travel. It should also provide a robust security response benefit, such as political evacuation.

If a major incident occurs without warning while travelling, a quick extraction could be vital, particularly if borders and airspace are suddenly closed. Having the financial triggers and professional capability to respond can mean the difference between a policyholder being caught in a conflict zone and getting home safely.”

insurers and the two key areas of the assistance industry – security and medical – have yet to adapt fully to changing traveller needs

If there is a security provision, it needs to be seamlessly integrated with the assistance, claims and insurance provision, says Rands, rather than sub-contracted out to another company ‘with separate telephone numbers and processes which can delay response’. “In leisure travel, this joined-up thinking is essential,” he says. “Unlike employee travel-tracking, which provides insights into customer bookings, leisure customers could be away at any time and in any location

within the geographical limits of their policy. Tis means the service would be reactive and therefore reliant on customers calling for help, rather than all the elements being in place for insurers or assistance companies to track incidents, generate real-time alerts and proactively intervene where necessary.”

Bridging the gap Both Jones and Hegeler agree that insurers and the two key areas of the assistance industry – security and medical – have yet to adapt fully to changing traveller needs. “Despite prevailing conditions,” says Jones, “Security elements have been incorporated into assistance offerings in only a very limited way. Physical security offerings have been on the market in their own right for decades, but the golden days for that industry of $100-million contracts in territories such as Iraq are past and unlikely to return in the short term barring a significant geopolitical event. Where security elements have, to a degree, been incorporated into assistance offerings, it has been driven, unsurprisingly, by corporate motive rather than operational – it’s been an attempt to cross-sell products into new market areas rather than improve operational response capability. For example, the industry has seen various country risk advisory models launched, and numerous attempts by traditionally medically focused assistance companies to joint venture in different ways with security. Te fundamental conflict with these models is that the traditional medical assistance industry is incapable of dealing with non- medical scenarios, and the security industry is not designed to operate in emergency timeframes. Te result is that the client is not offered a mutually supporting single product, but two separate ones.” Say LeBlanc at UHG: “Ten years ago, you had your security companies and your assistance companies, and the latter made strategic partnerships or alliances with the former. One of the things UHG wanted to do that was different was to own the process from end-to-end. Te advantage of having a security offering as part of an assistance one is that it provides a one-stop purchase for both products. Clients can choose one or the other, or both.” Intana Global is another provider that aims to bridge the gulf between security and medical responses. “Traditionally, travel and medical assistance companies have looked to partner with a security assistance provider to offer a combined, but not necessarily integrated, service to deliver medical and security assistance,” says Rands, “We’re looking, however, to deliver a fully integrated medical and security assistance service with specialist teams owned and managed within one control centre. Tis

16 | International Travel & Health Insurance Journal

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