Preventative actionOn 1 Sep 2003 in Personnel Today When an employee goes abroad on company business, their health and safetyremains the concern of their company, and of course their OH department, by DavidHeppard OH professionals face a number of challenges when dealing with businesstravellers. For example, persuading busy senior executives to spend time withthe OH team; finding the most effective way to deliver information to travellers;and keeping track of who the business travellers are and who will need adviceand guidance. It is vitally important to prevent business travellers assuming that becausean insurance policy is in place, they do not need further support from OH. Theyshould be encouraged to take a preventative stance to avoid ever having to usethe insurance. Know your audience The first challenge OH professionals face is identifying their core group ofregular business travellers, short-term overseas and expatriate assignees. OH can work with insurance providers to identify these individuals via theinsurance provider’s membership databases, which are normally updated with theassistance of the HR team. The insurer can provide detailed information, such as which employees arecovered by the policy, what the policy covers for each employee, whereemployees are based and how the claims process works. This will help the OHteam to answer questions from individual travellers, such as: ‘how does thecompany look after my family? who will pick up the costs for any vaccinationsor medical packs issued by the OH team?’ In many cases, the company will have an independent adviser or broker whocan also assist with interpreting the finer details of the cover. For example,some insurance policies will include pre-assignment vaccinations andscreenings, while others will not. Most now cover ‘chronic’ conditions,including paying for insulin for diabetes and inhalers for asthma. It is important to establish these facts to ensure adequate cover. It is also a good idea to check that duplicate policies are not in place. A key challenge for OH professionals is convincing business travellers ofthe importance of looking after their wellbeing during travel and while abroad,and persuading them to spend time with the OH team. Hosting an internal event with the aim of reaching every regular travelleris an effective and economic way to communicate with this audience. This willensure everyone has had at least one OH consultation and advice on generaltravel medicine. They can also be given information and advice about how andwhen to self-refer back to OH, for example, when their health status changes ortravel patterns alter. Cost-effective tools could include arming travellers with access to 24-hourhelplines, relevant websites on health issues and providing information on thepolitical climates in each country. OH should also ensure that details of any foreign travel tickets booked arefed back to the OH team, enabling it to provide advice appropriate to thetraveller’s destination. Insurance and other support OH teams often avoid getting involved in insurance – yet they are oftenbest-placed to know the medical risks and hazards people will face. They have akey role in advising HR and the finance director of the appropriate insurancecover for the company’s employees, and their advice may well save their companymoney. It could cost an organisation £5,000 to cover every female employee forcomplications in maternity care. However, without this cover, treatment for asingle incident, in Japan or the US for example, could cost £45,000. Political and environmental risks Recently, the fast-moving political situation has been causing as muchconcern as medical risks. A number of insurance companies now provide onlineminute-by-minute information on political situations around the world, as wellas medical information and details of quality local health professionals andfacilities. Insurance providers such as Securité Sans Frontiers and PERI also providerepatriation services for non-medical reasons in emergency situations. Industries particularly vulnerable to political change and terrorism includethe media, financial services and political organisations. David Heppard is head of international at IHC (insurance brokers andemployeewell-being advisers) Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.