The Keys to Staff Safety, Prevention, Preparedness, and Protection 

The Guardian Global Development Professionals Network

Are you ensured against kidnappings?

Intensifying political turmoil and social unrest throughout the Middle East and Africa has fueled concern regarding the overall safety and welfare of international NGO staff. Motivated by heightened vigilance, many multinational development organisations are procuring specialty insurance coverage for added protection of workers, especially those located in high-risk regions. Specialty policies such as political evacuation, kidnap, ransom and extortion, and executive liability can be the critical difference between the safety or harm of personnel in the event the unthinkable occurs.

Take for example Cairo's violent political uprising that ultimately resulted in the evacuation of NGO staff based in the capital city. Organisations with a political evacuation policy from Clements were at a major advantage: equipped with an emergency response plan, staff could react swiftly and cautiously. They also had immediate access to crisis response consultants and were able to enact a rapid, organised, and cost-effective evacuation of staff and their families.

Clements have an equipped emergency response plan which allowed staff to react swiftly and cautiously 

Conversely, multinational development organisations without political evacuation coverage had no plan in place and lacked direct access to a pre-determined crisis expert. In an environment growing more hostile by the minute, these NGOs were left to their own devices to develop and execute an evacuation. This delayed and disorganised response unnecessarily endangered Cairo-based staff, and resulted in financially devastating out-of-pocket expenses.

This scenario in Cairo demonstrates that the advantages of international specialty policies extend far beyond monetary compensation for covered losses. The political evacuation coverage provided valuable resources before, during, and after the event to help NGOs navigate a crisis situation safely and effectively.Similarly, kidnap, ransom and extortion coverage offers policyholders many peripheral benefits such as security briefings and discounted security planning. In the event a staff member is kidnapped, these policies have 24-hour hotlines and expert case managers. 

Travel, medical and accident policies provide medical resources and case management services. Executive liability coverage not only provides financial support but also risk-prevention training for employees and management, discounted forensic accountants, and funding for PR to protect against reputational harm caused by a crisis.

For over 65 years, Clements Worldwide has provided the international NGO community with tailor-made insurance solutions that are both comprehensive and affordable. Since each multinational development organisation has unique risk exposures, Clements advises NGOs to consider the following factors when evaluating insurance requirements:

• Are insurance decisions made on a centralised or regionalised basis?

• How are local, compulsory cover needs balanced with head office placement fees?

• Does your organisation have existing relationships with crisis consultants, public relations firms or legal counsel?

• Is there overlap between the policies in your portfolio, and if so, which policy/response takes precedence?

As NGOs are confronted with increasing uncertainty and risk, Clements urges all NGOs to ensure that their insurance portfolios form airtight and globally streamlined protection for all their assets, especially staff. Organisations should use all available resources provided by a policy not only in the event of a crisis, but also when taking preventative measures. Ultimately, ensuring that an organisation is adequately prepared for a crisis is the best way to preserve its core humanitarian mission and protect its valuable staff.  


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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