Many businesses today large and small have a global component to them. You may manufacture a product that is shipped overseas, you may go overseas to inspect products being manufactured for you, or you could be consulting or offering advice to clients overseas. In all cases you may need International Insurance protection.
In many cases, the standard business insurance policy (sometimes called a BOP policy – short for Business Owners Policy) may have a coverage territory definition which only includes USA, its territories and possessions and Canada. Let’s break this down to the basics.
One of the biggest concerns we have is when business owners or their employees travel outside the coverage territory. In the US, if a worker is injured, workers comp coverage will pay for the medical expenses needed to restore their health and a portion of the lost wages. Unfortunately, workers comp does not extend outside the United States, and in most cases, neither does your group health insurance. So, if you’re injured in China while doing a quality control check of your products being manufactured there, you’re in trouble. Granted, the health system in China is government run but you’re still going to have to pay, and you’ll likely pay out of pocket. Now to take that a little further, let’s say you’re not in China, but instead you’re in developing nation that doesn’t have a quality healthcare system. In these situations you’ll want to be airlifted by air ambulance to a quality modern hospital that can take care of your illness or injuries – and that can get expensive!
Here’s another example. While on business in Germany you rent a vehicle in the business name and have a pretty bad accident involving serious injuries of pedestrians. Neither your auto policy from the U.S. nor your umbrella policy will likely cover you.
Now let’s say you’re selling your products or professional services overseas and a client or customer sues you for injury or for professional liability claiming bad advice that led to a financial loss. In most cases your liability insurance will protect you only if the suit is brought in a U.S. (or Canadian) court. If the claim is brought let’s say in Brazil, you have no coverage for defense in Brazil.
While some of these examples may seem far-fetched, there are a tremendous number of U.S. companies large and small doing business outside the country and need to consider these exposures and think about purchasing international insurance coverage.
Good News on International Insurance
The good news is that many insurers can add an international coverage endorsement or policy to your insurance program and in most cases the costs is minimal.
Often called international voluntary coverage it will protect you for the “basics” by extending liability, auto liability, and workers compensation for activities taking place globally. Depending on the circumstances we will often recommend supplementing this policy with a few key “extras”.
The first is a broad corporate travel accident policy which can provide protection against accidental death, medical expenses, emergency evacuation, medical transport, legal resources, travel information, etc.
The second is policy is a Kidnap, Ransom & Extortion coverage, and as its name implies it will provide the resources to negotiate and effectively settle hostage/kidnap situations which can happen in some countries with unfortunate regularity.
Like all insurance issues, it’s important to discuss your needs today and the anticipated needs you’ll have in the future so we can craft an effective program for you and close the international gap that exists in so many business insurance programs.