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Travel Risk Management in Partnership with WorldAware

WorldAware: Helping to protect your travelers

8 min
Posted: 13 March 2020

No element of business travel should be left to chance. That’s why we’re committed to partnering with leading risk management service providers across the globe to help ensure you can optimize your travel program, whether it’s saving money as an organization or protecting your travelers when they’re on the road.

We encourage all of our clients to examine their duty of care needs as an element of a robust and effective travel risk management (TRM) program. Although most travel managers and HR professionals don’t have access within their organization’s resources necessary to implement best practices for duty of care our partner, WorldAware, helps companies of all sizes address this need. Join us as we take an inside look at what to expect from a robust duty of care program.

We asked WorldAware’s founder and president, Bruce McIndoe, a few questions to help guide the way.

About WorldAware

Tell us about WorldAware and what makes you unique.

Celebrating our 20th year, WorldAware was founded in 1999 and defined TRM as a disciplined practice and methodology. We also developed the TRM Maturity Model (TRM3) and, in partnership with GBTA, made this the standard to measure and improve a TRM program.

We have been the leading provider of travel-risk and broad people-risk solutions since then. Our solutions deliver a full lifecycle of value-add services that protect travelers, from global threat monitoring to pre-trip information, and en route awareness as well as both medical and non-medical response.

WorldAware delivers customized people and operations risk management solutions with the best intelligence and insights for organizations providing access to our analysts, 24/7 client support and a dedicated account manager. We truly are an extension of our client’s organization.

Duty of Care

What are the essential elements of a robust duty of care program?

The fundamental elements of a duty of care program for any size organization is to have a TRM policy, travel insurance, and basic travel safety training. Travel insurance, typically a business travel accident (BTA) policy, needs to provide assistance and response to support a traveler in need. Building on this foundation, the organization needs to have a systematic process to perform a risk review and mitigation which is the pre-trip assessment and provide pre-travel information to the traveler.

In a more mature TRM program, the organization would keep travelers informed of any new information that could impact them or the trip and proactively reach out to provide assistance.

How can a business evaluate their TRM policy and trainings? What are the most common gaps you see in existing policies?​

As a best practice, a TRM policy should include the policy scope and aims, responsibilities, travel planning and approval, risk assessment, incident reporting and what insurance and assistance is provided.

The most common gap we see is organizations lacking a documented TRM policy. Often TRM-related policy statements are included in the general travel and expense policy and spread around other risk-related policies. Putting all the TRM-related information in one place enables policies to be communicated more seamlessly, making it easier to analyze for any gaps that need to be filled to enable greater success when unexpected issues occur.

We also see that most policies don’t spell out both the company and employee expectations around high risk travel. Organizations typically will have an approval process for business travel, but if high-risk travel occurs, the expectations are not outlined.

At what point should clients engage with you as they build their TRM policies?

Ideally, clients would engage with us as they are planning a new TRM program or looking to refresh a stagnant program. WorldAware has experience implementing hundreds of TRM programs and have a variety of proven tools and templates that can speed up the process. A famous quote by Rubin states, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

Building a program is a constantly involving and adapting process. An organization should start with the foundation elements and ensure that their travelers have the help that they need if they get into trouble and then build from there. The risk profile of the organization will shape the TRM program. That is, does the organization travel to low-risk global business centers or send people to high-risk locations or is it in between? The answer and the details behind it will drive what the TRM program ultimately addresses.

How does implementing a duty of care program help a business save time and/or money?​

Standard policies and processes allow organizations to rapidly make consistent travel decisions. When guidelines and policies exist and are clearly communicated to employees, they know what to do and expect without a lot of organizational effort and friction. By applying risk management principles to travel, an organization can consistently avoid problems or when issues do occur, minimize the impact and any financial loss.

Should small, medium and large-sized businesses consider different services when implementing a duty of care program? If so, can you outline some of the different services to consider?

Yes, as mentioned before, the organization’s risk profile, more than its size, will dictate the complexity and services needed for the TRM program.

Every organization should have at least two things for their travelers: A hotline, a designated number for the employee to call if they are having issues and an insurance policy to cover the financial loss of an incident. Large businesses with a global footprint or smaller companies with business-critical travelers or with individuals traveling to high-risk locations should also provide additional services to mitigate those risks.

WorldAware can evaluate an organization’s risk profile, review a client’s current program and determine the best comprehensive plan moving forward. Depending on the volume of trips, even a modest-sized organization should acquire automation to ensure that each trip booked is systematically reviewed, pre-travel information is forwarded to the traveler, and any threat updates are automatically pushed to the traveler 24/7. Most travel management companies partner with providers like WorldAware to provide this type of support or if the company wants to cover all employees — traveling or not — can come directly to WorldAware.

Working with Egencia and WorldAware

How have you seen the partnership between WorldAware and Egencia benefit clients?​

Implementing any holistic TRM solution requires a strong partnership between the risk management provider and the travel management company. WorldAware and Egencia have had a long-standing partnership that goes far beyond the “sale.” The quality of travel data provided drives the quality of the TRM program.

We have developed and continue to build relationships across relevant departments in our respective businesses to ensure a high quality, holistic set of data is handed off from day one to power our shared clients’ TRM solutions. In addition, our account teams work hand-in-hand before, during, and after the sale to deliver proactive and continuous support. We don’t point fingers; we work together to get any issues resolved quickly.

What’s the most common challenge you've seen clients encounter that was able to be addressed by WorldAware and Egencia?​

Holistic data aggregation and data quality. Travel data aggregation and ensuring the quality of the data is not just a one-time event during implementation, it is an ongoing process throughout the life of the program. Most TRM service providers do not really understand travel data and don’t provide ongoing, 24/7 data quality monitoring and support.

Tell me about the most unusual situation addressed by duty of care coverage? 

We find that travel interruptions, even seemingly small, are amplified when the traveler is in the midst of travel. We often get feedback from travelers such as “thank you for notifying me of the transportation strike and helping me get to my destination” or “thank you for pushing my travel risk alert to my phone so I did not miss it.” Also, weather conditions can strand a traveler and we work diligently with Egencia to help the traveler work around these situations and more.

Unfortunately, there are high-risk situations that occur and we are experienced in helping, be it bringing in a helicopter to a remote area for evacuation or bringing medical assistance to a person in need. WorldAware is constantly looking over the traveler’s shoulder, not just where they currently are but also for where they are going. We communicate with the traveler so that they know that we are there for them the entire way should a risk scenario await them up ahead on their travels.

As a thought leader in this space, where do you see duty of care and risk management going next?

Duty of care is no longer focused solely on the traveler and the trip. Now it is focused on all people and travel becomes one modality of duty of care. Organizations are realizing that the asset that they are protecting is the person, not the trip. Regardless if they are in their home country, traveling, commuting, or on vacation, applying a holistic risk management structure around the person ensures that they are productive and safe. With this “all people” duty of care approach, organizations are taking wellness more seriously — both physical and mental.

For more information on how to engage WorldAware for your duty of care needs, please contact your Egencia account manager.

Responses in this article include excerpts from the recent Egencia interview with WorldAware founder and president, Bruce McIndoe, a recognized leader in the risk management, travel, and intelligence industries. As WorldAware founder, he's been the key contributor to the company’s strategic growth, securing its position as a leader in business resiliency with the development of the Worldcue® Global Control Center. Prior to joining WorldAware, Bruce was founder and CEO of CSSi, an Inc. 500 and four-time Washington Technology FAST 50 company that developed software for the intelligence community. He has also served as a lead architect on intelligence programs for the US government.

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