Doing business overseas? Don't count on your domestic policy for coverage. "There are serious gaps in domestic programs that don't cover a myriad of exposures overseas," says Bill Skapof, senior vice president at AIG WorldSource in New York City. If you're operating abroad, you need to protect your people, property and income.
For example, your domestic general and product liability policy may say it offers worldwide coverage, but in most cases, that's only if the suit is brought in the United States (even though the claim may have occurred elsewhere). "More and more, claims are not being brought back to the U.S.," says Skapof. If you're at risk of being sued in another country, you need coverage that will pick up your defense costs and cover your liability in that country.
Skapof says when workers are sent overseas, they face a range of risks that may not be covered under your standard policy. Be sure they'll be protected if they become ill or injured either on or off the job with insurance that pays upfront rather than simply reimbursing costs later. The policy should also cover the cost of any special transportation required to bring an ill employee home.
Service is a critical element of international insurance, says Skapof. Choose a company that has representation in the countries where you're operating so you have someone local to call if you need help.
Rates vary depending on your type of business and the specific coverage you need. Skapof says a solid international policy that includes general and product liability, workers' compensation, accident and health, kidnap and ransom, foreign fidelity, automobile, political risk and local assistance starts at about $2,500 a year.
Jacquelyn Lynn is a freelance business writer in Orlando, Florida.
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