I was sent the following update to an insurance policy this week by a major travel insurance provider:
Travel to a country with a travel warning:
For travel to any country or a specific area that is subject to a travel warning, the insurance no longer applies if the government authorities in the country of the company headquarters where the traveller is employed or the WHO has advised against the travel at the time when the trip starts.
Insurance coverage is, however, ensured and service is provided if an event that led to a travel warning has occurred unexpectedly after the start of the trip. Insurance coverage expires at the end of the seventh day after the travel warning is issued.
If you are an Australian based company, then you need to check your current travel policy to see how it aligns with your travel approval and risk assessment processes. There are a lot of Australian companies that use a foreign organisation to underwrite their travel risk processes, and the advice they provide is likely to be at odds with that provided by the Australian Government (DFAT).
For example, the Australian Government’s advice for travel to New Zealand and the United States is ‘Do Not Travel’. However, if I look at the risk advice from one of the major risk assessment providers, their advice is Low Travel risk for both these countries.
If the non-Australian Government advice is followed, then travellers may well be in a situation where they are not insured.
Furthermore, if at any stage the Australian Government upgrades its advice to a country to ‘Do Not Travel’ while people are outside the country, then organisations are likely to have limited time to get their employees back home.
Given Australian borders remain shut to normal outbound travel, it’s highly unlikely there will be large numbers of Australians heading overseas for business purposes at any time soon. However, going forward it’s very likely we will be managing travel in a highly volatile environment; especially if we take into consideration the recent volatility in our own state borders.
Therefore, any sudden changes to travel advice will have a major impact on employee welfare, and if the tools aren’t in place to monitor these changes when they happen, it could have a major impact on travellers and the organisation they work for.