Helping the helpers in crisis regions
It has been long since helpers in crisis regions were protected by immunity and were only rarely abducted. In 2010 alone, more employees of aid organizations were killed than UN peacekeepers. At the Security Forum held by Dr. Walter GmbH last Tuesday, the CEO Germany of risk consultant Control Risks, Hans Jürgen Stephan, informed the audience about this alarming development. For this purpose, the insurance broker Dr. Walter GmbH, a leading expert in insuring private and business travel as well as stays abroad, had invited chairmen, managing directors and executives of various large aid organizations that operate at an international level.
In recent years, the number of volunteers who relocate to crisis regions in Africa, the Middle East or South America has increased significantly. The combination of an increased threat level and a higher number of deployed helpers has also made the planning and execution of such stays abroad for development workers, missionaries and volunteers much more difficult. Experts from different areas used the Security Forum to exchange information and experience about potential ways for aid organizations of how to fulfill their duty of care towards travelers during their stays abroad.
Hans Jürgen Stephan (Control Risks) explained, for example, the strategies that professional crisis teams come up with for the liberation of hostages. Fortunately, 80% of all such rescue attempts are successful.
As the Managing director of med con team, Dr. Michael Weinlich does not only provide preventive advice but, together with a network of emergency doctors and paramedics, is also responsible for air rescue services and repatriation of severely injured patients. Weinlich also stated that comprehensive assistance services such as GPS systems to localize patients are often vital in regions with a poor medical infrastructure.
If employees do not return safely to their home country, liability always remains with the responsible aid organization. Due to spectacular liability cases of some of the largest and most important companies in Germany, Heiner Eickhoff and Nicole Klevenhaus from DUAL Deutschland started to sensitize organizations for the existential consequences of breaches of duty of care: "Nowadays, no CEO or Managing Director will take up his or her position without a Directors and Officers Insurance."
One of the main conclusions of the forum was that many of the risks caused by a stay abroad can be reduced by information, assistance and insurance cover. "The expert opinions and information on the threat situation for employees of aid organizations has demonstrated impressively the importance of a comprehensive and holistic security concept for the affected people," Reinhard Bellinghausen, Managing Director of Dr. Walter GmbH, summarized the results of the Security Forum.
For detailed information on the program and participants of the Security Forum, go to: