In 2017 duty of care is a legal and moral obligation, but how can the international private medical insurance industry assist global employers fulfill their duty of care obligations?
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 is a landmark in law and for the very first time, companies can be found guilty of corporate manslaughter as the direct result of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of duty of care. But what does this all mean for expatriates, business travellers and tourists? Or for employers with a globally mobile workforce in remote and dangerous locations - how can the international medical insurance and assistance industry assist in fulfilling duty of care needs on a global scale?
In the recent round table International Medical Evacuation And Repatriation Strategies 2016 iPMI Magazine spoke with the industry at large about how international medical payors and providers may help assist global employers fulfill new legal and moral obligations.
Andrew Apps, Bellwood Prestbury: Most businesses insure their vehicles and their office contents but often fail to put in place adequate protection should an employee be injured or fall ill particularly whilst on assignment. This can be due to one or more reasons, with cost-savings often topping the list.
Some believe they have the cover when they haven’t. And then there’s those who convince themselves (often due to the cost-saving) that they have the cover when, in fact, they haven’t. Claims can and do happen. Defending a claim can be both time consuming and costly, often eating up reserves and denting profits.
Most employers are likely to have a responsibility (duty of care) whether as employees or contractors and it doesn’t matter if it’s for a year, a month, a day or even an hour. Just imagine should a high earner not be able to work again and you are found at fault – we are talking millions.
Claudia Schmiedhuber, Tyrol Air Ambulance: I can sum this up in one sentence: “by being there when someone needs us the most”.
As we provide a 24/7 emergency call centre, we are always available and reachable for our insurance and other clients and most importantly for the patients who suffer a medical emergency abroad. Our team is multilingual and has unrestricted access to medical assessment doctors and a network of healthcare providers when a member needs immediate information or support anytime, anywhere in the world. Taa also has the privilege of operating its own fleet of air ambulance jets, providing a “one-stop-solution” for our clients.
In addition, we are always happy to “educate” our clients as we believe that sharing our knowledge is the best way to optimize our collaboration and improve the level of care for our mutual patients. TAA regularly visits to clients to provide “behind-the-scenes” knowledge and present important updates concerning the company and our industry.
Philipp Schneider, Quick Air: We as an air ambulance operator can assist global employers with our services to guarantee an immediate evacuation in case of a medical emergency situation for their abroad employees. We are able to make sure that employees working in remote areas with limited access to medical treatment get fast help, on-board treatment and a transport solution to the next appropriate medical facility.
Irena Dimitrijevic, Jet Executive: The aviation business is a highly controlled market with many regulations, audits and requirements. It gets tougher and tougher every year. Every step done by a pilot, mechanic or dispatcher is legally documented. Pilots from the old days often joke that in these days they spend more time on bureaucracy than in the cockpit.
The same rules apply for the medical teams. Therefore the duty of care in our industry is indispensable.
In addition we regularly organize training courses especially for new team members but also for senior employees to discuss old cases and issues that occurred during a transport to prevent the same mistakes in the future.
Eva Kluge, Air Alliance: As an air ambulance company, we have clearly responded to the global employment situation of the last years with people living and moving around the planet. Employers want to be sure that you will be able to evacuate/ repatriate their employees from any place around the globe at any time. There is an increased demand for long range air ambulance flights, often with critically ill/ ventilated patients. Nowadays, we still many of classical European “holidaymakers” back home, but we also set out regularly from Europe to the US, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Missions like Mauritania to Lebanon, Mexico to Shanghai and Ecuador to the UK are nowadays not that exotic anymore.
We have strongly invested in additional aircraft with the latest technology, in modern equipment, highly qualified staff and training. Our fleet of 12 dedicated air ambulance aircraft (Learjet 35 and its larger sister Learjet 55, Challenger 604) caters to all distances and medical needs. We started operating the long-range Challenger 604 in 2015. This is a perfect option for the premium air ambulance segment. Our superior aircraft insurance coverage enables us to fly to remote and critical areas right away instead of having to ask the insurance company for war risk coverage beforehand. In May 2016, we opened an office in Birmingham UK with 2 Learjets and excellent British medical teams. As the UK, especially the London area, is a haven for corporates and expats, this is an additional asset.
iPMI Magazine Top Tip: Travellers and expatriates (plus their employers!) need to be aware of any pre-existing medical conditions, and how the insurance policy may, or may not perform, in covering previous ailments and health problems - but also future risks. Medical complications that arise from a pre-existing condition should also be explored.