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.
*Kidnap by region. 2019
While kidnappings garner media attention, extortion is also a serious and growing threat. See figure 2 below.
*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 2014. Most common victim types known to control risks.
**Others include media, project workers, religious workers, ranches, tourists and sports/entertainment personalities.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.