Four Ways NGOs Can Help Protect their International Employees   

The Guardian Global Development Professionals Network

The life of an international employee can be complicated, especially for development and aid professionals. They are living and working in a foreign country, dealing with the possibility of a language barrier, a different culture and unique risks than what are typically found in their home country. For global NGOs, that challenge can involve managing hundreds - if not thousands - of workers.

As a representative of a company with operations overseas, a comprehensive and affordable international insurance policy is an important tool. Coverage can limit the financial ramifications of a problem should it arise, while providing peace of mind to both you and your employees. In addition to indemnification, there are also several steps you can take to ensure safe, secure operations abroad. With that in mind, here are four possible solutions to help you keep your international workers out of harm's way while overseas:

1. Follow general safety news
The first step before action is awareness. Your company cannot take any measures to improve safety without first understanding what it is you need to focus on, and the answer here comes from the local news. According to InterNations Magazine, you should keep an eye on the general trends happening in your host country, or the other locations where operations are active. Closely monitoring the political situation can provide valuable insights into upcoming events, and that can mean taking safety precautions at precisely the right time. Moreover, a clear understanding of the climate in the country will allow common-sense decisions to be made, and it can also lead to proactive risk management and better preparations.

2. Have proper policies, procedures in place
After figuring out the security situation in your country, it comes time to implement the best possible safety policies and procedures for your company, including acquiring international insurance coverage to address any specific issues. Edward Lee, a global advisor with the Lee Group, wrote for Global Business News that establishing programs to deal with risk can be one of the most effective ways to protect expats and other employees. One ideal step here is to have the proper policies and procedures in place. For example, provide country-specific training for all workers. Offer travel guidance and assistance, create resources to help workers select homes in safe locations and establish resources to connect with security professionals that can further provide assistance, such as security alarms or armed guards.

3. Implement crisis management planning
Employees must understand how to be safe while living and working overseas. However, it is also important that the managers and owners of the organization know the risks and have measures in place to respond to any incident, including international insurance coverage. Lee explained that crisis management planning is vital for upper-level staff members of a global organization. This will allow for a proactive response to a violent crime, natural disaster, labor dispute or other issue that can impact operations. A plan has to be created between the managers back at headquarters and on the site itself, so everyone is involved in the process.

4. Hire professionals to respond to crisis
The best plans won't be effective without the correct professionals standing by to respond. Lee noted that an international company must have a team in place to take action following a crisis and ensure a safe, speedy resolution to any problems. These can be people trained and located in house or on retainer. In addition, international insurance coverage, such as kidnap and ransom insurance, can provide the funds needed to bring in the right experts to achieve a desirable resolution. This level of coverage can ensure that you are ready for anything, and that your staff is safe no matter the dangerous situation.

As your partner in mitigating international risk, Clements can develop a policy tailored to your NGO's specific needs. Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or email

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