New business opportunities brought on by the European Community's single marketprogram and easing of trade barriers worldwide also means new risks, insurance leaders said.
"Kidnap and ransom insurance to cover employees who travel is something which most people would not have in this country," said Gary W. Bemm, director of domestic risk management in Cincinnati, Ohio for Chiquita Brands International.Eight out of 10 kidnapping victims sue their employer, claiming corporate negligence, said Anthony Ten-Barge, an account executive in Cincinnati for New York-based Marsh & McLennan Inc.
Having a contingency plan and educating the employee provide some defense, he said.
Other considerations in kidnap coverage are indemnification for ransom, instant access to consulting services and ransom replacement if stolen in transit, Mr. Ten-Barge said.
Some policies even offer terrorist coverage for physical damage to property, he said.
Other than kidnap insurance, a company operating overseas must conform to a mix of foreign and domestic workers' compensation requirements for employees abroad, said Mr. Bemm.
"Everybody has a foreign exposure whether they're getting supplies from overseas or traveling overseas," said Mark Robinson, a manager in the international department of the Chubb Group of Insurance Cos.
"There is a need for international insurance coverage," he added.
For instance, an employer with a standard workers' compensation plan may not have coverage for an employee overseas who develops an illness that is indigenous to the foreign country.
Mr. Robinson, together with Mr. Bemm and Mr. Tenn-Barge, addressed insurance managers in Boston at the annual conference of the Risk and Insurance Management Society Inc.
Another potential difficulty is the variation in insurance terms among countries. This means even seemingly simple coverage such as fire requires study, said Mr. Ten-Barge. "Fire and heat damage are two separate coverages in England, unlike in the United States," he said.
Lewis F. Ward, director of international and marine risk management for Chiquita Brands International, cautioned first-time exporters and importers. ''I strongly suggest that you use a broker who is well versed in cargo risks and has a broad knowledge of cargo underwriters," he said. "You don't want it to be a learning experience for both of you."