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Globally Mobile Workforces: Addressing Your Risks, Expanding Your Opportunities

Michael Farago and Michael Casey April 25, 2019

Global mobility has increased in the past 10 years, according to a study by the National Foreign Trade Council. The same study reports that the number of longer-term (six months or more) expatriated employees has decreased and shorter-term assignments of less than six months continue to benefit companies through the faster transfer of skills, knowledge and resources to meet business needs. Complementing these findings, a separate look at Global Mobility led PwC to predict a 50% increase in international assignments by 2020.

Historically, the majority of globally mobile workers were employed by the U.S. government and large multi-national corporations. Today, small and middle market businesses also comprise the workforce in foreign lands. Increased government spending, particularly in Defense, will position some companies for significant growth, resulting in an increase in employees working outside their home country. Companies that win these contracts may not be equipped to understand and fulfill regulatory and human resource requirements and meet the needs for those employees calling a new, foreign location home.

Strategic Planning

Duty of Care refers to the moral and legal obligations of employers to their employees, contractors, volunteers and related family members in maintaining their well-being, security and safety when working, posted on international assignments or working in remote areas of their home country. Duty of Care provides specific criteria covering; 1) Preparation for Travel; 2) Risk Management; 3) Risk Transfer (Insurance Programs). To fulfill this obligation, employer organizations must develop and deploy appropriate travel risk management approaches to protect people from possible harm. Access to resources including international medical assistance and security service providers, global travel assistance programs and training and preparedness information help keep globally mobile employees ready for the unexpected when abroad.

Employee Health and Welfare

According to a study conducted by ORC International on behalf of Europ Assistance USA, half (51 percent) of the U.S.-based business travelers who have taken at least three international trips within the past 12 months have experienced a medical need. Of those:

55% have fallen ill

52% have had to see a doctor

11% have been hospitalized

4% have been medically evacuated

In addition, the number of accidental deaths for travelers aged 15 to 44 is two-to-three times higher than rates among the same age group at home in the United States or Canada.

Data from a UnitedHealth Group and the Economist Intelligence Survey further supports the need to protect globally mobile employees and their families. According to the survey, 96 percent of companies with this workforce believe that new solutions for dealing with health and security risk must be found. The same survey says that of these employers, nearly 50 percent believe market instability will increase.

Solutions and strategies can be employed to mitigate risks and protect your company’s investment in global assignments. This includes insurance placement, review of procedures and protocols as well as engaging third-party non-insurance solutions providers. All have nuances that Oswald understands and works with every day. Typical insurance coverages designed for traveling workforces include: Business Travel Accident, Business Travel Medical, Foreign Voluntary Workers Compensation and Kidnap & Ransom.

Our Solution:

Oswald Companies sees a growing need to help our clients assist their Globally Mobile employees no matter the length of assignment. From security to risk management to insurance coverages, having the right strategies, programs and tools can attract, retain and protect employees. Ensuring international assignments are successful is critical for employers who have significant financial, reputational and human capital risk at stake. Oswald’s Group Benefits and Property and Casualty Divisions have partnered to offer a complete suite of services to lessen the risks associated with U.S. employees and their families working overseas. Our experts in Employee Benefits and Property and Casualty understand the complexities of protecting globally mobile employees while fulfilling Duty of Care requirements. We help clients strategize and implement the risk management protocols, tools and coverages to elevate safety and well- being at the right combination of cost and protection.

When on foreign assignments, globally mobile workers may face barriers when accessing local resources for emergency situations. No one wants to risk delay, subpar care or language barriers when time is of the essence. Oswald Companies recognizes these very real challenges and provides recommendations based on analysis, carrier relationships and global market knowledge.

Our proven success with all of the aspects discussed here has made us a leader in providing services to employers with globally mobile workers and their families. We deliver world-wide expertise. In addition, our partnership with Assurex Global allows us to locally assist employees in non- US locations. Through Assurex Global, we can access 600 partner offices around the world.

Our consultative brokerage and strategy development will help you better understand the considerations involved with international travel risk management, including costs, exposures and risks. If you’re ready to rely on experts to help you navigate the challenges of a globally mobile workforce, we’re ready to talk with you.

To learn more about Global Mobility, contact:

Michael FaragoMichael Farago
VP, Senior Client Executive



Michael CaseyMichael Casey
VP, Senior Client Executive



Note: This communication is for informational purposes only. Although every reasonable effort is made to present current and accurate information, Oswald makes no guarantees of any kind and cannot be held liable for any outdated or incorrect information. View our communications policy.