The successful growth of an increasing number of companies depends on their employees regularly searching for, discovering and securing business in foreign destinations. By safeguarding these key employees via sufficient travel insurance, the company shows that it values its most important business assets – its people – while simultaneously providing important financial protection for itself.

Thus it cannot be overemphasised that, before business travellers are about to depart, especially to politically or geographically unstable regions, they need the peace of mind knowing that, if required, they are comprehensively covered.

Travel insurance provides this peace of mind by reducing the negative results of risks associated with doing business far from home; travel-related emergencies such as trip cancellations, baggage loss, terrorist activity, natural disasters and medical emergencies. These are the five main categories that are covered by comprehensive travel insurance.

Businesses are advised to, if they have not already done so, speak to their travel management companies (TMCs) about an insurance plan that, should it become necessary, will help travellers book alternative flights, track lost luggage, find local medical care and even, if required, locate translators, qualified drivers, business equipment and more.

If travellers experience a loss of assets, they must know the correct emergency numbers and procedures. For example, if wallets, cell phones, laptops, etc. are lost or stolen, the incident must immediately be reported to the local police. If it’s a wallet, all cards must be quickly cancelled.

In the case of a passport going missing, a copy of the police report must be taken to the nearest South African Embassy or Consulate-General where the traveller will apply for an emergency travel document. Of course, the travel insurer must also be contacted as soon as possible to avoid any complications or issues with the claim.

Although many companies extend their health insurance benefits to employees travelling for business beyond their borders, travellers should take it upon themselves to understand how much health cover they’ll have if they need it. A call to their employer’s health insurance company before departure can point them to the section in the health insurance guide that describes their benefit range.

Probably the best way for travellers to secure their luggage against theft or smuggling while in transit, is to seal their bags in plastic at an airport kiosk. Not only is the wrap a deterrent to potential thieves, a wrapped bag that’s been tampered with will show obvious signs.

When it comes to purchasing travel insurance, the company can pay for the coverage outright, or the employee can purchase appropriate coverage on a per-trip basis and then be reimbursed by the company. Either way, the company is, in practice, acknowledging the truth that its most valued, essential assets are its people.

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