International Insurance: An Essential Safeguard for Humanitarians 

The Guardian Global Development Professionals Network

Relentless waves of social and political unrest are the source of ongoing turmoil throughout regions in the Middle East and Africa 

Relentless waves of social and political unrest are the source of ongoing turmoil throughout regions in the Middle East and Africa. Although these tumultuous conditions breed risk and danger, countless aid and development organisations persevere, delivering humanitarian relief to those in need. Since exposure to risks is often unavoidable, it is essential for organisations to secure a financial safeguard with proper insurance.

All too often, aid and development organisations expect local insurers to provide global insurance solutions. This misaligned approach to insurance leaves an organisation's assets and staff extremely vulnerable. While it is tempting to choose a local provider to save money on premiums, the benefits of selecting an international insurance provider are far more significant.

1. Seamless coverage

Local insurance providers offer limited types of coverage, and therefore may be unable to provide comprehensive insurance crucial to aid and development organisations. In contrast, international insurance companies offer a full suite of insurance solutions, such as:

Commercial auto insurance

Foreign property and liability

Directors and officers liability

Group medical insurance

DBA and foreign workers compensation

Transit and cargo, including war risk

Personal accident insurance

Political evacuation

Kidnap and ransom

War and terrorism

An additional issue of concern when it comes to local policies involves the unwanted exclusions that policies purchased through international companies would not contain. The elimination of exclusions and coverage gaps in a policy ensures that organisational resources remain focused on achieving humanitarian objectives.

2. Consolidated risk management 

For cost-effective, comprehensive coverage, aid and development organisations should consolidate insurance with one international provider. At times, global organisations with multiple locations maintain various local policies, resulting in an unmanageable amount of insurance administration. This fragmented approach creates unnecessary work and could leave an organisation vulnerable due to insufficient coverage. Working with one international insurance provider centralises risk management; any questions or concerns can be routed to one point of contact for a dependable answer, as opposed to numerous providers with limited scope of understanding.

3. Strong regulatory authority

Most insurance providers in developed countries operate under a regulatory body which guarantees the payment of claims for covered losses. However, less developed countries lack adequate enforcement of insurance regulation. With a local insurance provider, an aid and development organisation may be subject to these regulatory inconsistencies. Therefore, it is advisable to obtain insurance from an international provider located in a country with a strong insurance regulatory authority.

Determining the appropriate insurance can be a difficult and complex process for aid and development organisations. Taking into consideration the various missions, distinct challenges, and specific geographical locations of operation, organisations are best served with customised insurance solutions tailored to their needs. For this reason, it is highly recommended to seek expertise from a trusted international insurance provider.

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