Business travel was reduced, restricted and even disallowed completely. Our survey shows that 86% of the respondents cancelled all of their (international) business travel.


Respond, return and reinvent

From an initial response and crisis-mode, organizations are now - as markets re-open - searching for ways to resume their businesses, taking lessons learnt from Covid-19 to heart.


People Mobility in general seems to be changing. It may well be that this change is here to stay. We see organizations re-evaluate their Global Mobility policies, from business travel to long-term assignments.


Key topics are: Employee Value Proposition (EVP), employee wellbeing & protection, cost reduction and technology to support the servicing of international assignees and business travelers.



Tele-health & access to medical care

Today the landscape for business travelers poses increased health, safety and security risks for employees.


Independent of destination, the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us that access to adequate (out-patient and in-patient) medical care cannot be guaranteed as before. It is beyond doubt that Tele-Health and (online) Employee Assistance Services have become crucial additional benefits that define the Employee Experience.



Employer’s duty of care & employee experience

International Mobile employees are often unfamiliar with the host location in which they temporarily work and/or reside. They may find it difficult to respond to (medical) threats to their safety and wellbeing.


It is the employer’s Duty of Care to prepare and assist employees for any stay abroad. The employer can live up to this obligation by taking prevention seriously and provide guidance before and during the assignment as well as institutionalize 24/7 crisis response services.


A well designed Business Travel Insurance is an insurance that matches your Travel Policy and contributes to a positive employee experience for travelers.



Covid-19: what to look out for in insurance?

Lessons learnt from the Covid-19 outbreak in relation to Business Travel Insurance are:

  • All claims not related to Covid-19 remain covered.
  • Claims related to Covid-19 can be rejected. It is therefore difficult to guarantee coverage related to this pandemic.
  • In assessing claims related to Covid-19, the following items are taken into account:

o   Does the necessity of the trip outweigh the Covid-19 medical risks?

o   Can the policyholder demonstrate this to the insurer?

o   Have sufficient measures been taken to prevent or minimize Medical risks?

o   Are Employer and employee following all rules (e.g. lockdown or travel ban) and regulations posed by (local) governments and agencies?



Any incident during a business trip (resulting in a claim) will be assessed based on the actual facts and circumstances in the context of the applicable policy conditions.


The answers to the following questions play an important role:

  • Has there been reckless behavior and/or poor decision-making?
  • Have appropriate preventative measures been taken?
  • Is the incident due to foreseeable circumstances?
  • Are there exclusions in the policy conditions related to:

o   Travel against medical advice.

o   Illness or disorders present before the insurance enrollment (start date).

o   Cancellation due to unwillingness of the employee.

o   Cancellation due to local governmental regulations or restrictions.

o   Cancellation due to disappearance of transportation if the probability existed before the trip was booked.



Decision-making & risk management

There are exceptions for “necessary travel”. But bear in mind that it is extremely difficult to judge whether the necessity of a business trip outweighs the medical risks that are inevitably associated with it. All facts and circumstances that lead to a claim must be disclosed and tested against the applicable policy conditions.


In this respect, every employer should be able to demonstrate sound decision-making and adequate risk management.


If you would like to get more information related to Mercer’s International (business) travel assurance please use the link.


Last one: The Covid-19 pandemic has seriously impacted our lives and the way we conduct our international businesses. Business travel was reduced, restricted and even disallowed completely. Our survey shows that 86% of the respondents cancelled all of their (international) business travel.


Note: This blog is based on the results of the research of June 22
Marcel Blom
Marcel Blom
Senior Consultant
Global Mobility,
Sabine Rock-Speelman
Arjan van Duijn
Senior Consultant
Health & Workforce
Risk management, Mercer
Sabine Rock-Speelman
Jack Lokker
Senior Consultant
Health & Workforce
Risk management, Mercer

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