Travel assistance ambiguity despite employer investment
While half of business travellers say their employer has invested in medical and security assistance to support them, 51 per cent of those aren’t sure what it means or offers, according to a new survey from global medical, security and travel risk management services provider Collinson.
On a positive note, three quarters of employees feel their employer cares about their physical wellbeing when asking them to go on business trips and has invested accordingly. However, said employees are also apprehensive about making use of the traveller assistance and support services they’ve been signed up for – only a fifth said they were confident using their 24/7 medical and security assistance in the event of something going wrong while abroad.
The survey, conducted just prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, alludes to even more companies having implemented such programmes – some 15 per cent of business travellers say their work might provide it but they’re not sure, while over a tenth (12 per cent) admitted they wouldn’t know as they don’t understand what medical and security assistance is.
“As business travel picks up again, the safety of employees will be the priority for employers”
– Priyanka Lakhani
“As the prime commercial hub for the MEA region, there’s typically a high volume of business travel from the UAE and KSA to nearby countries. Once business travellers take to the skies again, we know routes from these two hubs will be just as busy as they were pre-pandemic,” said Priyanka Lakhani, commercial director Middle East and Africa and Director South Asia at Collinson. “As business travel picks up again, the safety of employees will be the priority for employers. Many companies already have medical and security assistance policies in place, but they need to take the time to educate staff on what is available to them. This will not only give employees peace of mind pre-trip, but also let them know where to turn in the event of an emergency, while they're away.”
Travel risk management solutions include medical and security assistance, which ensure travellers are safe abroad in the event of any emergency, whether it’s handling destination security risks, giving 24/7 routine medical advice, or responding to medical emergencies and repatriations.
“It’s great to see so many employers have signed up to medical and security assistance services for their employees – and probably even more, given so many were uncertain if they had them or not,” said Scott Sunderman, head of assistance, Collinson. “But something needs to be done for staff to realise the full potential of these services, such as better communication with travellers on what they entail, what they’re entitled to and how to tailor solutions to their own needs. Business travellers especially will be looking to their employers and travel providers to guarantee they’re fully supported when business travel picks up again post COVID-19 and, for many, that support is there – they just need to know how to use it.”