LONDON--()--An increasingly globalised business environment is driving heightened concern about business travel risk among European companies, according to new research published by ACE Group today.
Over half of companies surveyed believe that the level of business travel risk their company faces will grow over the next five years, with a quarter thinking it will increase significantly. This places business travel among the top three fastest-growing risk concerns of the six categories researched with over 600 companies in the UK, France, Germany, Benelux, Italy and Spain.*
In particular, many European companies are concerned about the compliance implications of international business travel. Overall, 71% of mid-size companies and 65% of larger companies say they are worried about the regulatory and tax consequences, in line with an increasingly proactive approach to compliance on the part of many national supervisors and enforcement authorities.
However, ACE’s research also suggests that businesses in some parts of Europe may be less aware of the compliance risks. UK companies are most likely to be concerned (85%), followed closely by Spain (82%). The proportion drops in the Benelux region (67%), Germany (64%), Italy (60%) and France (50%).
The research is published at a time when travel industry experts forecast that spending on business travel in Europe is set to pick up again in 2013.** The number of ‘global nomads’ – employees who move from country to country on multiple assignments – is also reported to be increasing.***
The research additionally highlights that new business travel ‘claims hotspots’ are developing as European companies build their overseas revenues. Over half of European companies identify either ‘Asia and Australasia’ (27%) or ‘South America’ (27%) as the regions most likely to generate an insurance claim from their own experience. By comparison, Western Europe is rated a claims hotspot by fewer than 5% of companies.
When it comes to making a claim, 67% of European companies surveyed say that they are currently satisfied with the way their business travel claims are handed by their insurer. However, the level of satisfaction varies widely by country. In the UK, almost 90% of respondents say that they are happy with the claims process but this proportion falls to 58% in Germany and 52% in France.
Jeff Dowling, chief underwriting officer, Accident & Health, for UK and Ireland at ACE, said:
“Traditionally, companies have tended to put in place one single insurance policy to cover their business travel globally. However, this might not always be the best or most compliant approach. Whether or not a claim for medical expenses can be paid to a European employee who falls ill in an emerging market where the insurer is unlicensed, for example, will depend on local laws.”
“Our research suggests that Asia, Australasia and South America are becoming the business travel ‘claims hotspots’ for European companies. With the shift to emerging markets gathering pace, we expect this trend to continue. At ACE, we are already seeing increased interest from clients in working with a global insurer to develop more comprehensive multinational programmes that reflect their specific exposures and give reassurance that the policy will perform when their employees most need it.”
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The ACE Group is one of the world’s largest multiline property and casualty insurers. With operations in 53 countries, ACE provides commercial and personal property and casualty insurance, personal accident and supplemental health insurance, reinsurance and life insurance to a diverse group of clients. ACE Limited, the parent company of the ACE Group, is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACE) and is a component of the S&P 500 index.
Notes to editors:
*ACE has conducted this research as part of a survey of over 600 European companies in UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Benelux. The six risk areas researched are: terrorism and political violence risk, environmental risk, multinational/ export risk, IT and cyber risk, directors’ and officers’ liability risk, and business travel risk. The research was carried out between: 13 / 04 / 2012 and 03 / 05 / 2012 by Opinion Matters who spoke to 606 Risk managers / CROs / CFOs / COOs / people responsible for buying insurance at companies with turnover of £500 million+.
* *Global Business Travel Association, ‘GBTA Business Travel Index (BTI)™ Outlook - Western Europe’, 12 June 2012
*** Mercer Consulting, ‘Increase in Global Nomads and high medical premiums create challenges for expatriate benefits’, 31 July 2012