With today’s increasingly globalized economy, organizations of all sizes can work beyond U.S. borders. Whether it is doing business in foreign countries, using foreign suppliers or service providers, or having employees traveling abroad, organizations face increasing international insurance exposures.
If your organization has people who travel outside the U.S. for events, has employees or volunteers who regularly travel or are permanently working abroad, or even if you export products or sell via the internet, you have an international exposure. You may need international insurance to help mitigate risk.
What is International Insurance?
International insurance is a type of insurance designed to cover risks associated with doing business outside of the U.S. It is similar to standard business insurance in many respects, with the primary distinction being that it will cover losses that occur abroad. International business coverage follows your business and your employees, independent contractors, volunteers and students no matter where they go in the world.
This coverage is important because domestic insurance does not adequately respond to the risks organizations face when traveling or operating outside of the country, which could result in unexpected and costly gaps in coverage.
Who needs International Insurance?
Whether you are an educational institution, religious body, non-profit company or other entity, almost every organization needs international insurance when it has personnel who travel outside the U.S. or sells products internationally.
Does your organization…
- Attend international events?
- Have employees or volunteers who travel or are permanently working abroad?
- Sponsor trips, tours or educational programs overseas?
- Export products or sell via the internet?
- Have foreign licensees that distribute your product?
- Have international operations or offices?
- Provide professional services outside the U.S.?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, your organization has an international exposure.
Types of International Insurance
Many types of international insurance are similar to those that your company may already have domestically. Coverages such as general liability, product liability, contingent auto liability and property insurance, protect an insured’s business. Coverages such as workers’ compensation, auto, and accidental death and dismemberment protect employees, independent contractors, volunteers and/or students.
International insurance policies also can extend to coverages unique to foreign issues. For example, international professional liability insurance, also known as malpractice or errors and omissions insurance, protects services provided abroad. It will generally cover the cost of defending a lawsuit and any settlement or award.
You also can purchase coverage designed to protect employees and your organization. An international contingent auto liability policy makes up for differences in coverage limits in foreign countries. For example, if a U.S. employee travels to Mexico and rents a car with local auto liability limits that are insufficient and that employee is involved in a serious accident, the employee and the organization could be held responsible for a judgement over that limit. An international contingent auto liability policy can fill the unexpected and costly gap in coverage. Protection for employees can even cover such unlikely events as kidnappings or extortion or employee evacuation because of political upheaval or natural disaster.
Can your organization benefit from International Insurance coverage?
For organizations that engage in international business, it makes sense to find out whether your overall insurance coverage includes international insurance; if not, determine what types of coverage you need. It is recommended that you contact your insurance company, broker or account manager to help walk through what coverages you have or what you should consider obtaining.
To better understand this topic, please view our free webinar, International Travel Coverage: Don’t Place Your Ministry at Risk for more information and understanding about how coverage can help protect you.