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Hostage Training and The Benefits of Kidnap And Ransom Insurance

Updated on February 2, 2010

Hostage training can go long way in reducing the risk of abduction as well as increasing survival chances of hostages. According to Clayton consultants, a great number hostages "sleep walk into a kidnapping. The majority of cases are foreseeable and unavoidable." Avoidance techniques need to be tailored to local conditions. What may work in Latin America may not work in the Philippines. There are a number of hostage consultants with real kidnap experience who can help clients customize training for staff.

Kidnap and ransom insurance usually covers ransom payments and the fees of negotiation consultants, usually former intelligence or law enforcement operatives. However, the policies do not pay the ransom directly. The insured must first pay the ransom, incur a loss, and then claim reimbursement under the policy. Policies also pay for the personal accident losses arising out of kidnap such as death, permanent disability and dismemberment.

Some travel insurance policies also have a limited extension to cover kidnap and ransom. There are now also available packaged policies available for firms that cover a wide range of risks inherent when carrying on business overseas.

Kidnap and ransom insurance is necessary for all companies that are sending their employees overseas since hostage takers do not discriminate. Anyone can be a victim of a hostage taking including individuals despite the fact that most people tend to associate kidnappings with employees of global businesses.

Evidence of the fact that kidnappings are on the rise can be seen in the steady rise in insurance premiums. According to a Forbes article by Nathan Vardi, "thanks to the spread of kidnapping, K&R insurance is a nice growth business. Global premium income from corporate policies has jumped 15% a year since 2000 and generates $350 million annually, reckons Derek Rogers, a managing director at Hiscox, a U.K. specialty insurer that, with AIG and Chubb Corporation dominates the market. That sum doesn't include individual policies sold to rich guys from Chennai to Chihuahua. Insurance can be cheap: An outfit with $500 million in sales operating in "medium-risk" countries like Peru can get $10 million of coverage for $8,000 or so. (The company usually shells out the ransom money, then gets reimbursed.) But the policies remain controversial. The World Bank has pushed to ban them or at least to disallow the company tax write-off-because it claims the policies encourage kidnappers."

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