As the world continues to assess and manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries are slowly beginning to rebuild both socially and economically. Employers and employees now have new policies and practices to consider and for multinationals, the situation is especially complex. With operations across the world, these companies are some of the most impacted groups when it comes to managing employee Duty of Care – and some of the most at-risk.
With the increased risk of COVID-19 in addition to pre-existing risks like natural disasters, terrorism, social unrest and crime, a strong business travel and personal accident insurance programme is a crucial element of the overall risk framework for multinationals. While legislation varies greatly around the world, case law in many countries continues to refine Duty of Care obligations. The most important concern for a company should be the safety, security and wellbeing of their employees.
“COVID-19 brought more focus on the importance of Duty of Care. Employers need to review and update their existing insurance and risk management policies and protocols. They need to be more clear, structured, robust and agile,” says Natasha Reoutt, Vice President of Accident & Health Multinational Business at Chubb.
Naturally, the more countries a company operates in, the more pertinent it is for them to have an insurer who can match their global footprint. “Developing a multinational programme is quite complex, but Chubb makes it simple for our clients,” says Jean-Baptiste Ramboz, Head of Corporate and Multinational Business Development, Chubb. In addition to the 54 countries and territories in which Chubb has operations, there is also a network of 145 partners that can front business locally, meaning expansive coverage across almost all potential travel locations.
Chubb’s partnership with leading global assistance providers adds another layer of reassurance for employers, as it provides comprehensive medical and security emergency services as well as live updates on developing situations worldwide.
When business travel starts on the slow road to recovery, “the stakes are getting much higher, and will be for a while after the COVID crisis,” says Natasha. “It’s really important to identify and treat potential gaps in your employees’ coverage.” Even now, while business travel is limited, employees are working from home in environments that employers have practically no control over. Group Personal Accident cover is imperative for a truly comprehensive insurance programme; combined, personal accident and business travel policies can protect employees and help fulfil employers’ Duty of Care obligations no matter where work is being done.
In addition to the depth and breadth of coverage, consistency is also crucial to a successful plan. A Controlled Master Programme (CMP) allows companies to address the idiosyncrasies of local exposures in conjunction with an overarching global outlook. “Global programmes have many advantages, not least of which is that companies can be assured that their employees are uniformly covered, and any gaps are covered by the master policy,” explains Natasha. Jean-Baptiste adds: “A carefully crafted CMP enables a company to meet the varied coverage requirements and needs of all employees worldwide with locally admitted policies – where required – all under one master policy with one effective date. It creates consistency of coverage and eases programme administration. Coverage can also be tailored to meet the unique needs of specific employee populations.”
A CMP can provide a wide variety of benefits to the employer, including centralised claims management and compliance oversight. Chubb’s web-based platform, Worldview, also helps rationalise the process, giving human resources and risk managers easy access to all relevant documentation, local contacts, and policy activity.
Transparency and easy-to-understand company protocols are at the heart of any successful multinational travel and personal accident programme. “Employers should show that they can be easily reached in case of an emergency,” advises Jean-Baptiste. Apps such as Chubb Travel Smart, where employers and employees can easily and quickly communicate, can support a cohesive, real-time communications strategy. In addition, the app provides employees with real-time news alerts and travel updates based on their location and destination.
But what is the best way to really take care of your employees? “I think there’s an important word: prevention,” says Natasha. “This is far less costly than employees getting sick or injured. Companies should be much more proactive right now in ensuring prevention, rather than just reacting when something goes wrong.” With risks increasing and changing daily, it pays to focus extra attention and investment in a comprehensive and preventative insurance plan – instead of having to mitigate and problem-solve once issues have occurred. Jean-Baptiste says, “A more robust travel and personal accident risk management programme enables faster decision-making that will be useful in any crisis.” And even after the dangers of COVID-19 subside, having an insurance plan that can weather the next unforeseeable crisis will ensure your company keeps prevention as a priority – whether natural disasters, social unrest, terrorism and crime.
Above all, a successful multinational programme is built on trust and close collaboration with the client, broker and insurance company. “Close relationships and mutual trust are more than words. They are vital components of building multinational programmes. Chubb’s approach gives us and our clients confidence,” says Laurent Cellot, Head of Special Risks, Willis Towers Watson, France.
Enabling clients to thrive by allowing them to focus on growing their organisations while keeping their employees safe is at the core of Chubb’s multinational proposition. By working closely with clients, their risk managers, human resources, employee benefits, security or travel management teams, Chubb can help optimize insurance protection, drawing on recognized expertise to guide clients through these turbulent times.
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