Mexico Risk Assessment Country Guide 

Working in Mexico

As the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world and a popular tourist destination, Mexico is currently undergoing an economic revival thanks to a substantial rise in foreign investment. A number of expats call this nation home, and live and work in Mexico's diverse cultural and geographical landscape. However, political violence and drug-related crime is high, which means those interested in moving to or working in the country should consider appropriate international insurance coverage.

Mexico City has recently been the site of numerous demonstrations related to government reforms. Protesters have been known to shut down major roadways. All political activities should be avoided, as participation could result in detention or deportation.

On April 15, 2016, the State Department issued a travel warning to Mexico due to threats of safety and security posed by organized criminal groups in the country. Travelers have been victims of violent crimes, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery by organized criminal groups in various Mexican states. All but essential travel should be avoided to Ciudad Juárez, a town on the Texas-Mexico border notorious for drug-related crime. 

  • Health
  • Safety & Security
  • Terrorism

In November 2015, the first local transmission of Zika virus infection was reported in Mexico. There have been 3 cases reported. Local transmission means that mosquitoes in Mexico have been infected with Zika virus, spreading it to people. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.  Although there is no cure or vaccine for Zika, take standard precautions against mosquito bites and practice safe sex. Pregnant women should consider postponing travel.

On November 19, 2015, the CDC issued a Watch – Level 1 for travel to Mexico for Chikungunya, which is a disease transmitted from mosquitoes. As of September 2015, there have been more than 7,000 cases reported in Mexico since the start of the outbreak. Mexican states most affected are Guerrero, Chiapas, and Oaxaca. Chikungunya causes fever and joint pain and may include headaches, muscle pain, joint swelling, and rash. Currently, there is no medication or vaccination for the disease; the only way to prevent its spread is by taking extra precaution for avoiding mosquito bites. 

Travelers should take precaution against bug bites, especially mosquitoes. Chikungunya causes fever and joint pain and may include headaches, muscle pain, joint swelling, and rash. Currently, there is no medication or vaccination for the disease; the only way to prevent its spread is by taking extra precaution for avoiding mosquito bites. 

In November 2015, Mexico reported two locally transmitted cases of Zika virus infection. These are the first cases of Zika virus in Mexico. Local transmission means that mosquitoes in Mexico have been infected with Zika virus, spreading it to humans. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.

On May 14, 2015, the CDC issued a level 1 watch for Mexico due to 27 reported cases of Hepatitis A from US travelers who visited Tulum, Mexico from Feb 15, 2015 - March 20, 2015. The CDC recommends that travelers to Mexico receive vaccinations against Hepatitis A. 

Potential health concerns are fairly common in Mexico. There is a cholera outbreak with 14 confirmed cases in 2014 and 187 confirmed cases, including one death, reported in 2013 in Hidalgo state and Queretaro. Cholera may result in watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps, without treatment may result in death within hours. In addition, water quality can be substandard, so all travelers should only drink boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. 

It is advisable to contact your primary care physician prior to leaving your home country, and discuss all possible vaccinations and medications. 

Acquiring the funds in Mexico for necessary health care can be complicated. Clements Worldwide's Expatriate Health insurance can ensure that you will have the needed coverage to afford medical care. With this Clements policy, you will have USD 5 million in benefits, flexible payment options and coverage for families also abroad.

If nearby hospitals are not able to provide a substantial level of care, Clements offers Medical Evacuation and Repatriation insurance. This policy covers expenses to transport you to a capable medical facility in case a local medical center isn’t able to provide adequate treatment in Mexico.

Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or email request@clements.com to discuss your organization’s travel needs tailored to considerations involved while operating in Mexico.

Source: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Clements Worldwide 

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Violence has continued to be on the rise with Mexico's midterm election on June 7, 2015. Four political candidates have been assassinated since March of 2015 and several electoral offices have been attacked. El Pais reports a total of 70 incidents and 19 political assassinations throughout Mexico connected with the political election as of June 2015. 

In mid-November of 2014, thousands of protesters in Mexico City took siege to government buildings, set fires, and blocked highways in remembrance for the disappearance of 43 students. On September 26, 2014, the students were traveling to hold a protest on a conference in Iguala. On their way, the students were abducted and murdered by Guerreros Unidos, a drug cartel. The plan was orchestrated by the local Iguala's mayor, José Luis Abarca Velázquez, and his wife María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa. They were later arrested along with over 80 suspects including 44 police officers, who executed the crime.  

Crime activity is high throughout the country including homicide, gun battles, kidnapping, carjacking, and highway robbery particularly near the border. Most victims that cede to the carjackers' demands, are usually unharmed. Some of those who don't comply have been murdered. According to the U.S. Dept of State, 85 U.S. citizens were murdered in 2014 and 81 citizens in 2013. 

The rate of crime - especially incidents related to drugs - is high in Mexico particularly in Sonora. The states with the highest incidence of crime in Mexico include State of Mexico and Guerrero. Whenever you are in transit within the country, you should take care to avoid isolated roads or driving in the dark, and keep your vehicle's windows and doors locked at all times. Please note that carjacking and kidnapping occurs frequently in the country and newer and larger vehicles, like dark-colored SUVs, are targeted. 

Road travel in Mexico can also be unpredictable. Conditions are poor in some locations, and most drivers behave erratically. Clements offers International Car insurance, which includes Physical Damage, Third Party Liability, and Excess Liability coverage. With flexible deductible options and fast claims processing, your policy will provide coverage for your vehicle fleet whether it’s on the road, parked or transported abroad. Political Violence coverage is included with individual physical damage policies, which protects against strikes, riots, malicious damage, sabotage, war, terrorism or civil unrest.

Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or email request@clements.com to discuss your organization’s travel needs tailored to considerations involved while operating in Mexico.

Source: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, U.S. Dept of State, and Clements Worldwide 

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Mexico is the No. 1 at-risk country for kidnappings according to RiskMap 2014, a new report from Control Risks. According to statistics published by the Mexican Secretaria de Gobernacion (SEGOB), last year kidnappings nationwide increased 20 percent over the previous year, and 245 percent in the last decade. Places to be mindful are Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Michoacán, Estado de Mexico, and Morelos, which recorded the largest number of kidnappings in 2014. Mexico’s kidnappers have a notorious reputation for being violent, with nearly 1,000 victims killed over the last decade. 

According to the statistics published by the Mexican Secretaria de Gobernacion (SEGOB), kidnappings rose 20% in 2013 over the previous year. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), there were about 105,682 kidnappings in 2012, but only 1,317 were actually reported. There were over 130 reported kidnappings involving U.S. citizens between January to November 2014. Although kidnappings are prevalent throughout Mexico, the states with the highest kidnappings are Tamaulipas, Guerro, Michoacan, Estado de Mexico, and Morelos. 

Express kidnappings are common in Mexico. Victims are forced to withdraw funds in order to secure their release, and local friends or family could also be called upon to provide ransom monies. Longer-term kidnappings also happen, and some police officers have been accused of involvement.

On October 18, 2016 police officials in Guadalajara reported that they had recovered 7 kidnapping victims, six of whom had had their hands cut off and the seventh had been killed. A note on the body of the murder victim indicated that the kidnappings were likely perpetrated by drug cartels in the on-going drug conflicts.

On October 8, 2016 the leader of a local farming collective was abducted and murdered in San Luis. Authorities believe the kidnapping and assassination are related to the Mexican drug war.

On September 6, 2016, a helicopter owned by the Mexican police was shot down by gunmen connected to the Knights Templar Drug Cartel. Four officers were killed in the attack and one was injured.

In order to facilitate a safe, speedy release, Clements provides Kidnap and Ransom insurance. This coverage ensures financial assistance following a kidnapping, such as independent investigations, negotiations and the arrangement and delivery of funds.

Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or email request@clements.com to discuss your organization’s travel needs tailored to considerations involved while operating in Mexico.

Source: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, U.S. Dept of State, and Clements Worldwide 

Contact a Clements Representative for Insurance Solutions