UK employees in danger from inadequate risk management procedures, warns ArmorGroup International

Almost one in ten (9%) UK-based companies fail to insure their employees and other critical company assets when they are deployed abroad, according to new research.

The security provider also reveals that the majority of these companies do not provide insurance cover abroad, with only a fraction (3%) doing so in high risk regions such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

ArmorGroup warns senior company executives that this lack of adequate insurance cover is a glaring example of companies’ failure to properly address the critical issue of duty of care to their employees and could leave them open to litigation as a result. ArmorGroup believes that this failure is due in part to the fact that around one in five (19%) companies has absolutely no risk management programme in place.

The security company believes that many firms are concerned at the prohibitive cost of providing comprehensive insurance for staff operating in more high risk regions. However, according to Aon Crisis Management, companies could reduce their premiums by demonstrating they have firstly understood their risk exposure and then established robust plans and procedures to manage these risks.

Neil Young, managing director of ArmorGroup’s Risk Management Division, said: “UK workers can face a range of threats irrespective of whether they are employed in a country such as Iraq or a seemingly safe European state. It is the duty of employers to ensure that they receive the necessary training and support before being sent abroad and are given the right level of insurance and protection when they are there. Staff should be confident that they and their families will receive appropriate levels of care should the worst happen: in fact they should insist on it.”

Justin Priestley, Executive Director, Aon Crisis Management, said:" Without adequate insurance cover companies could face problems repatriating employees or providing them with the best medical services in the event of an emergency. Companies with risk management programmes which offer staff pre-deployment training and if necessary, additional protective security services may see a reduction in their premiums."

The sectors least likely to insure staff or assets abroad are transport/storage and construction firms, with just a third doing so compared to manufacturing firms who tend to make adequate arrangements. In terms of their risk management procedures, almost a third (29%) of construction firms, a quarter (25%) of manufacturers and almost a quarter (24%) of transport/storage companies do not have any programme in place.

ArmorGroup advises companies to conduct a full risk assessment on the country they are deploying employees to before they are sent. This means:

Adapting recruitment processes for employees sent into potential danger zones, ensuring that they are physically and mentally suited to the task;

Giving them relevant briefing and training before deployment; and

Equipping them adequately once they are there.