Protecting Engineering Firms

The world is a dangerous place to work these days.  And it’s not just the big multinationals that are feeling the threat. Smaller professional engineering firms, often subcontracted by larger companies, are finding their employees in harm’s way in places as far-flung as Colombia, Haiti, Nigeria, and Iraq.  For example, the 4 year old U.S. National son of an engineer was kidnapped in Manila in December of 2011. His kidnappers demanded a $228,000 ransom. After negotiations, and a $14,000 ransom, the boy was rescued.   Additionally, an engineer for a French firm was kidnapped in Nigeria in December of 2012, and was still being held as of September of 2013. 

The Numbers Tell the Story

Control Risks, a leading international crisis management and response company:

  • Worked on 2,745 kidnappings and extortion cases in 132 different countries as of August 1, 2015.
  • Handled 152 cases in 2014.


Figure 1 below provides a geographical breakdown of kidnaps of foreign nationals.

Kidnaps by Region 2014

*Kidnap by region. 2019 


While kidnappings garner media attention, extortion is also a serious and growing threat. See figure 2 below.

Extortion by Region 2015



*Extortions by geographical region, first half of 2015.


Mitigating Your Risks

Nearly every type of employee is at some risk, as well as their dependents. See figure 3 below:

Kidnaps worldwide by victim type


*Kidnaps Worldwide 2014. Most common victim types known to control risks. 
**Others include media, project workers, religious workers, ranches, tourists and sports/entertainment personalities. 


There are steps you and your employees can take to mitigate risk, from dressing inconspicuously to carrying a mobile phone or another communications device that is preprogrammed with police, embassy and other emergency numbers. It’s also important to always be alert to your surroundings, and to avoid disputes, demonstrations and political rallies. In many places, it’s not advisable to walk alone on most streets after dark. If you need a cab, try to hail one at a major hotel, or hire a reputable car and driver.

Insurance and Expertise

While prevention is key, it’s impossible to protect everyone all the time. A Kidnap, Ransom and Extortion (KRE) insurance policy is a valuable tool that can help protect engineering firms doing business internationally.

Our KRE policy can help reimburse an organization for the payment of a ransom following a kidnapping or extortion threat and can help pay for experts to navigate the organization through an ordeal.

With a KRE policy through Victor, you are eligible to receive assistance from Control Risks. This means you get access to experts with a great deal of experience handling kidnapping and extortion threats. In fact, the policy pays for all of the Control Risks response team’s expenses and fees.

KRE policies can also pay for a range of additional expenses, such as the cost of hiring interpreters, post-kidnapping medical costs (both physical and psychological), and rest and rehabilitation. Engineering firms can also opt to purchase endorsements for loss of business earnings (i.e., if an extortion threat or other covered incident forces you to close temporarily) or assistance with and coverage for costs of security evacuation.

Equally important, a good KRE policy provides confidentiality. Everything associated with coverage and support in a crisis will be handled with complete discretion, thus minimizing media attention, from competitors and from other criminal organizations.


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* Source of information: Control Risks
The statistics shown are based on Control Risks’ records of kidnap-for-ransom cases, defined as the abduction of a person or persons with the intent of their detention in an unknown location until a demand is met. These statistics are based on those cases about which Control Risks has obtained reasonably reliable information and do not purport to represent the full extent of the problem. This information is for illustrative purposes only and is not a contract. It is intended to provide a general overview of the policy described. Nothing contained herein should be construed as an acknowledgement by Victor that a given situation may be covered under a particular policy.

Underwriting Contact

Sarah Katz
(301) 961-9898
sarah.katz@victorinsurance.com 

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