International Insurance

Today, a growing number of professional services firms based in the U.S. have clients and projects outside the country. These activities often require company leaders and employees to travel or work internationally.
 
While many elements of international business projects can be facilitated through  communications involving e-mails, phone calls, and other technology that can reduce the need for travel, much work still is required on-site and with face-to-face meetings in countries where clients are located.
 
Often, once a project is awarded, employees can remain in the countries during the duration of the work being completed. The length of time employees are outside the U.S. can vary from several days to several years.
 
Some firms may have a false sense of security when it comes to insurance. They have coverage that protects them from lawsuits or losses that arise in the U.S. However, when they conduct business overseas their domestic insurance policies (i.e. Property, General Liability, Commercial Automobile, Workers’ Compensation, etc.) have restrictions should incidents occur outside the U.S.  Even company benefits, such as medical care, could be denied outside the U.S.  
 
Firms doing businesses also may need insurance to satisfy contractual obligations. In many cases, services described in written contracts or agreements are required to be covered by insurance. In light of the territorial restrictions on their domestic insurance policies, U.S. firms may need international insurance policies to evidence insurance that will cover claims that occur outside the U.S.  
 
Insurance Coverages
 
Foreign Package Policy. The most common type of international insurance, a Foreign Package Policy offers several different coverage parts in one policy.  A typical Foreign Package Policy will include: Foreign General Liability, Contingent Automobile Liability, and Foreign Voluntary Compensation/Employers’ Responsibility. Other policies will also offer Kidnap and Ransom, Travel Accident (aka Accidental Death & Dismemberment), and Foreign Property coverages.
 
Foreign General Liability. The coverage provided by the Foreign General Liability is similar to that of the Commercial General Liability found on a domestic policy. Suits are brought and remain in the foreign country where the project takes place. 
 
Contingent Auto Liability. If an employee is driving a vehicle in another country, they may be required to show proof of minimal liability limits. If your firm is liable for an accident in that country, the required limits may not be sufficient to cover the losses. In these cases, a Contingent Auto Liability can provide that additional protection.
 
Foreign Voluntary Compensation/Employers’ Responsibility. When employees are injured in the course of their employment while oversees, they may require hospitalization or surgery or other medical procedures outside the U.S. Local hospitals and health care facilities may not admit employees because a domestic insurance policy doesn’t offer the protection. A Foreign Voluntary Compensation/Employers’ Responsibility can pay for these types of losses.  Coverage may also extend to transport injured victims to a stateside location, where treatment can be given.
 
Travel Accident.  When traveling to and from the U.S. an employee can get injured from acts other than those occurring while on the job. Travel Accident (Accidental Death & Dismemberment) can help pay for losses associated with getting sick or injured as a result of being on an airplane or other modes of transportation. An injury can result in loss of body parts which may not be covered by an employee’s own health insurance.
 
Kidnap & Ransom. Instability around the world has resulted in an increased demand for Kidnap and Ransom coverage. An employee taken hostage by someone demanding a large of sum of money for their safe return is one of the ways you can be protected by this coverage.
 
Kidnap and Ransom and Travel Accident can also be purchased separately from a Foreign Package policy.
 
Another type of insurance, known as Defense Base Act, provides coverage for employees who sustain injuries or die in the course of their employment while working in a foreign country on a contract authorized by the U.S. Government. 
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