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Workers' Compensation Webcast: Protecting Employees While Working Internationally


From auto accidents and slips and falls to public health crises and natural disasters to terrorism and political violence, multinational employers and their employees face a variety of risks stemming from international travel and work assignments. You can manage these risks through a combination of insurance and risk management, according to a panel of experts who spoke during a recent Marsh workers’ compensation webcast.

Creating Effective Insurance Programs
While in the US, there is a clear delineation between occupational and non-occupational injuries and how each is managed. That is generally not the case in other countries. In many foreign countries, injuries are managed through a “24/7” approach that responds in the same way, regardless of whether the injury is work-related. That means that risk managers should work closely with employee benefits teams while creating global insurance programs.

“We would suggest a holistic approach that looks at all of your coverage, including core benefits, as a single program, rather than keeping them siloed,” said Bruce Cohen, Northeast Leader for Marsh Multinational Client Service. “You should look at all of your coverages together, and don’t wait for an event that may not be covered by certain policies.”

While a domestic workers’ compensation policy could respond if a US-based employee is injured while traveling, you should consider several other forms of coverage that could also apply, depending on the specific situation. These include:

  • Foreign voluntary workers’ compensation.
  • Defense Base Act insurance.
  • Business travel and personal accident coverage.
  • Employee benefits.
  • General liability.
  • Kidnap and ransom coverage.

Crisis Management
Businesses should also develop crisis management plans, which provide a senior executive-level process and strategy for determining how to respond to various crisis events, including those that threaten the safety of employees. “A crisis management plan should include certain thresholds to be triggered, said Renata Elias, a consultant with Marsh Risk Consulting’s Strategic Risk Consulting Practice. “For example, an injured employee might not require activation of the crisis management plan, but a situation such a kidnapping, suspicious death of an employee, or mass casualty event may.”

Organizations should also develop action plans that include the roles and responsibilities of various departments in the event of a crisis. Organizations should plan, for example, how several departments — including human resources and global security — should respond in the event that an employee is injured or killed in a terrorist attack or acquires a serious illness. Employees should also have access to a toll-free number they can use in the event of a crisis while traveling.

Listen to the replay of the webcast.