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ASSISTANCE & REPATRIATION REVIEW 2018


to an emergency security situation as well as a medical emergency, instead of handing the security situation to a third party, states Carter; though he says on leisure products, where there is a lower demand and degree of coverage for security cover and services, it is often acceptable for the assistance provider to work with a third-party security assistance service.


Be prepared LeBlanc and Huntley both highlight the wisdom of another old Roman proverb – Praestat cautela quam medela, better known as ‘Prevention is better than cure’. Intelligence gathering is essential, says LeBlanc: “We have more than 20 full-time analysts who are gathering intelligence and running location briefi ngs via our text-based Travel Security Manager. You can’t stop random acts of terrorism. Governments and counter-terrorism agencies have to be right all of the time, while a terrorist has to be right only once. But giving location-specifi c intelligence to travellers empowers them to understand the threats they’re facing, whether they’re going to Kabul or London. T at’s a foundation for an employer’s duty of care, which is critical, and, hopefully, it helps employees to avoid being at the wrong place at the wrong time.” One thing UHC Global does that it says is diff erent from many of its competitors is that it allows customers to call directly into its intelligence centre. If a traveller reads something and just doesn’t understand it, they can talk to the company’s analysts 24/7. T e distinctions between low and high-risk labels are not always fi xed and obvious, explains Huntley, adding that intelligence is a vital part of prevention: “A lot of regions are contentious in whether they’re high, medium or low-risk. Risk appetite, whether we like it or not, is a very individual judgement. Cairo is a good example: you have the full range of security appetites – a holiday destination where you eat ice cream, see the Pyramids and ride a camel through to an incredibly dangerous location. Our job is to establish the facts and, based on our knowledge and experience, provide an objective overview of what we think the threat is, what risks they pose and what mitigation is needed to protect the individual or the project.” Secure journey management is a key part of that, he says: “You’re arriving at airport X, so what is the safe route to hotel Y? We do a lot of work of that kind. Evacuation planning is a very big thing currently, and we do a great deal of it. We provide kidnap and ransom services, too, but the fi rst rule in that area is that you don’t talk about kidnap and ransom! If a company has a project coming up, we do a geopolitical analysis of the region. It really is the full spectrum from


20 | International Travel & Health Insurance Journal


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the boots-on-the-ground stuff through to technical surveillance counter-measures.” Anvil’s approach also entails looking initially at the intelligence about a location and its geographic and political environment. “We identify the threat – the source of harm – and from that we identify the risks. In the past, if the IRA was the threat, the risk was that they could put a bomb under my car, or shoot me on the doorstep, or kidnap my partner. When we’ve understood what the client wants us to do, we look at possible constraints that would stop us meeting their needs. T ey could be legal, technical, environmental or political. T en we look at the options we have for delivering.” Huntley reports that the specialist security part of Anvil’s business has grown ‘massively’ over the past decade, with the recent emergence of areas that are of increasing interest. “Some regions become easier locations in which businesses can operate," he says, "so they have more corporate travellers. We’re defi nitely seeing more growth in Latin America, which is opening up for business, but which is also a really complex area in terms of threats and risks – not so much terrorism, but organised and gang crime risks. You might not be a gang member, but you can be caught up in the kind of crime quite easily.” T ere have been a number of major events recently that have got people starting to look at evacuation planning with more


The


distinctions between low and high-risk labels are not always fixed and obvious


interest, Huntley says: “Some good examples would be the Kenyan general elections, and Zimbabwe, with the coup that wasn’t a coup. T e tension, the build-up, was there, so the ability to plan for them was there. If you wait for the crisis to occur, you’re already behind the curve. Another example currently is Qatar, an interesting place politically where you could potentially be looking at evacuation support. It’s quite a contentious area in the Gulf now, and has an awful lot of expats. You could be looking at many people trying to get quickly out of a country that has a relatively small infrastructure.” With time of the essence when it comes to security provision, working with experienced providers who have the capabilities to serve clients’ needs


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wherever they are in the world is crucial. And with greater demand for security assistance than ever before, insurance cover and assistance services are developing in line with these needs. ■


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