International Insurance. Do my customers need this (YES) and aren’t they already covered? (NO!)

The quick answer, most likely YES.  A quick checklist to determine if you do:

  1. Do you have employees who travel outside the US?
  2. Do you have employees temporarily or permanently stationed in other countries?
  3. Do you participate in international exhibitions or trade fairs?
  4. Do you export products outside the US?
  5. Do you have foreign licensees selling your product?
  6. Do you perform service or repair work abroad?
  7. Do you work on any military bases oversees?
  8. Do you sponsor trips, tours or study groups abroad?
  9. Do you have international operations or sales offices?
  10. Do you advertise or sell products on the internet?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you have an exposure.  Whether you choose to self insure for the exposure or transfer the exposure is you choice.

Let’s go through some of your current policies to show why it is not covered (or there is limited coverage) by your current policies:

–          General Liability – While you have coverage for what happens anywhere in the world, the suit must be brought in the US.  This includes your products and completed operations exposure.

–          Auto – A commercial auto policy coverage territory is the United States of America and its territories and possessions, Puerto Rico and Canada.  So any claim in other countries would not be covered, even if suit is brought in the US.

–          Property – Would not be covered since you can not endorse an international location on to a policy so it would not be a “covered location”.  Only potential coverage would be if it is necessary to move covered property from an insured location in order to avoid it being damaged by a covered cause of loss, the insurance company pays for any direct loss or damage it sustains during the move. In addition, coverage applies at the location (and that location was an international location) used to store the property for up to 30 days after the date it was moved there.

–          Inland Marine – Coverage territory would be the United States of America, its territories and possessions, Puerto Rico and Canada

–          Workmen’s Comp –  There is coverage for bodily injury to a citizen or resident of the United States of America or Canada who is temporarily outside these two countries.  If you are sued, the original suit and any related legal actions for damages or bodily injury by accident or by disease must be brought in the United States of America, or its territories or possessions or Canada.

So you have very little coverage if any.  What are you to do?  Well…. A simple solution: An International Insurance Package Policy.  You can get one for as little at $2,500 and it can include general liability, products and completed operations, property coverage, inland marine coverage, contingent auto liability coverage and workmen’s Comp on a reimbursement basis.  Coverage such as Kidnap and Ransom Insurance and Accident death & dismemberment insurance can be added along with other benefits such as Executive Assistance (Medical Assistance Service, Personal and Legal Assistance, Travel Assistance Services, Concierge Services and Emergency Political Evacuation and Repatriation)

With the proliferation of the internet and the amount of international commerce be conducted by nearly every company it is imperative that you address these exposures with your clients and offer a possible solution that is very affordable.  Insurance Company underwriters that handle this coverage are very specialized and are more than willing to help guide you through quoting and writing process for this type of coverage.  No longer can you afford to  just pass up discussing this coverage with your client, just because you aren’t knowledgeable about the coverage.  Many excess and surplus lines brokers handle this coverage and can guide you through the process.

Discuss this coverage with your client before your competitor does!

From an editorial standpoint, this is one of the coverages that I believe should be an integral part of a “comprehensive” insurance program.  No longer should be touted as an “optional” coverage or just an “enhancement” to your current insurance program.  I would put Employment Practices Liability and Umbrella Liability into this same category.  As a business owner it is part of the corporate responsibility you take on to be properly covered for the exposures you have.   Getting “cheap” in the insurance area will cost you in the long run.

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