The world is a dangerous place to work these days. If you’re like most nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), your employees live and work in highly volatile areas and are generally less insulated than employees of many corporations. That means your employees are constantly at risk for kidnapping and detention by terrorists who harbor deep-seated resentment toward U.S. policies abroad or by common criminals looking for a quick way to earn a lot of cash. In 2013 alone, aid workers have been detained in places as far-flung as Colombia, Kenya and central Afghanistan.
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.
*Kidnappings 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 Risk
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.
*Kidnaps Worldwide 2014. Most Common Victim Types known to Control Risks.
**Others include media, project workers, religious workers, ranches, tourists and sports/
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 NGOs doing business internationally and domestically.
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. NGOs 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.