WorldAware: Helping to protect your travellers

Posted: 13 March 2020
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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 optimise your travel programme. Whether it’s saving money as an organisation or protecting your travellers 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) programme. Although most travel managers and HR professionals don’t have the access within their organisation’s resources that is 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 programme. 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 Travel Risk Management (TRM) as a disciplined practice and methodology. We also developed the TRM Maturity Model (TRM3) and partnering with GBTA, made this the standard to measure and improve a TRM programme. We have been the leading provider of travel-risk and broadly people-risk solutions since then.

Our solutions deliver a full lifecycle of value-add services that protect travellers - from global threat monitoring to pre-trip information and enroute awareness, as well as both medical and non-medical response. WorldAware delivers customised people and operations risk management solutions with the best intelligence and insights for organisations, providing access to our analysts, 24/7 client support and a dedicated account manager. We truly are an extension of our client’s organisation.

Duty of Care

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

The fundamental elements of a duty of care programme for any size organisation 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 traveller in need. Building on this foundation, the organisation needs to have a systematic process to perform risk review and mitigation, which is the pre-trip assessment, and to provide pre-travel information to the traveller. In a more mature TRM programme, the organisation would keep travellers 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 organisations lacking a documented TRM policy. Often TRM-related policy statements are included in the general Travel & 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. And, making it easier to analyse for any gaps that need to be filled to enable greater success when unexpected issues occur.

Also, we see that most policies don’t spell out both the company and employee expectations around high-risk travel. Organisations 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 programme or looking to refresh a stagnant programme. WorldAware has experience implementing hundreds of TRM programmes 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 programme is a constantly evolving and adapting process. An organisation should start with the foundation elements and ensure that their travellers have the help that they need if they get into trouble and then build from there. The risk profile of the organisation will shape the TRM programme. That is, does the organisation travel to low-risk global business centres or send people to high-risk locations or is it in between? The answer and the details behind it will drive what the TRM programme ultimately addresses.

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

Standard policies and processes allow organisations 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 organisational effort and friction. By applying risk management principles to travel, an organisation can consistently avoid problems or when issues do occur, minimise the impact and any financial loss.

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

Yes, as mentioned before, the organisation’s risk profile, more than its size, will dictate the complexity and services needed for the TRM programme. Every organisation should have at least two things for their travellers: 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 travellers or with individuals travelling to high-risk locations should also provide additional services to mitigate those risks. WorldAware can evaluate an organisation’s risk profile, review a client’s current programme and determine the best comprehensive plan moving forward.

Depending on the volume of trips, even a modest sized organisation should acquire automation to ensure that each trip booked is systematically reviewed, pre-travel information is forwarded to the traveller and any threat updates are automatically pushed to the traveller 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 — travelling 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 programme. 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 have 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 programme. 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 traveller is in the midst of travel. We often get feedback from travellers such as “thank you for notifying me of the transport 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 traveller and we work diligently with Egencia to help the traveller 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 traveller’s shoulder, not just where they currently are but also for where they are going. We communicate with the traveller 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 traveller and the trip. Now it is focused on all people and travel becomes one modality of duty of care. Organisations are realising that the asset that they are protecting is the person, not the trip. Regardless if they are in their home country, travelling, commuting or on holiday, applying a holistic risk management structure around the person ensures that they are productive and safe. With this “all people” duty of care approach, organisations 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.  

Bruce McIndoe is a recognised leader in the risk management, travel and intelligence industries. A WorldAware founder, Bruce has 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 programmes for the US government.

Interested to learn more about Egencia? Get in touch with our team.