Raise your hand if you’re an employer who uses their out-of-country coverage under their group benefits plan for employees on business trips. If yes, you’re not alone - it’s a common strategy. However, it’s not an ideal one. Let us tell you a story about our friend Jim.
The Perfect Storm
Jim is moving up at ABC Industries. He’s applied for your opening as a global sales rep, and he’s exactly what you’ve always wanted in this role - he knows his stuff, he’s great at talking about it, people like him, and he loves to travel. Jim is headed to Japan for 2 weeks to meet with some potential clients. As with former reps, you presume the travel insurance under your group plan will suffice – he’s only gone for a short time, it’s already in place, and that’s why it’s there, right?
Here’s what you don’t know:
- Jim’s heart murmur has started acting up, and he’s been undergoing tests to figure out what’s going on. His doctor put him on some meds, but they both know its temporary. Because of his scheduled trip to Japan, his next appointment is after he returns.
- He was diagnosed with ADHD a few years ago, and Adderall has really made a difference in helping him focus. He feels like he’s “making up for lost time” in his career, and doesn’t want anything to derail the trajectory he’s on.
- The prediction of an above-average typhoon season in Japan is about to come true.
The above scenario is a perfect storm in more ways than one. First off, out-of-country travel benefits under a group policy have a pre-existing conditions clause. If Jim’s heart acts up while he’s in Japan – and the insurer doesn’t consider his condition “stable” before he leaves – there’s a very good chance the claim will be rejected. Did Jim tell you about his heart before he left? Did you ask him about his current medical issues before you sent him on his trip? Of course not, Jim’s entitled to his privacy - but now we have a giant problem on our hands.
The Key Benefits of Business Travel Insurance
Business travel insurance makes this issue disappear. No pre-existing exclusions means Jim is insured for anything that may happen, and removes the liability from your books (because guess who’d pay that out-of-country claim if it was denied under the group benefits plan? That’s right, the employer).
Business travel insurance can also be used to protect those who aren’t insured under your group policy – contractors, part-time employees, board members, and possibly any dependents that are joining them.
In many countries medications like Adderall are illegal and in some cases, diplomatic negotiations have occurred. Jim didn’t know. You had no idea. And your group benefits coverage does not include any country-specific knowledge that can be accessed in real time.
Many business travel policies include useful apps that provide both pre-departure and on-the-spot info and assistance that’s important – especially if employees are in a country where they don’t speak or read the language. These apps not only give employees info to help them prepare for their trip, but also real-time assistance in locating medical and dental treatment close to them where their preferred language is spoken.
Non-medical Emergency Situations
Last but not least, non-medical emergency situations are another liability that is mitigated by business travel insurance. Extreme weather, political unrest, terrorist incidents, theft, or other events can also create issues with group coverage, as they are commonly impacted by government travel advisories. Business travel insurance not only covers these situations, but can provide resources and assistance to get employees home quickly and safely. It also provides security from damages to your business’ reputation in certain circumstances.
Conclusion: An Easy Solution Designated for Specific Employer Risks
In conclusion, when sending employees abroad on your behalf, clearly there’s a lot to consider. Unlike group out-of-country coverage, business travel insurance is an easy solution designed for the specific types of risks mentioned above. Our experts strongly recommend utilizing business travel insurance to ensure employer peace of mind.