Charity Travel & Working Abroad: Risk Management & Insurance

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If your charity needs to ask employees and volunteers to travel overseas, you are responsible for looking after them while they are abroad. This involves robust risk management by the charity and, as part of this, you should ensure business travel insurance is in place.

When planning trips overseas, charities should first assess the risks around the journey, destination and activities that employees and volunteers will undertake whilst away. You can investigate the destination through the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) website and you can also check the FCO’s Fit for Travel feature that provides travel health advice and warnings.

When completing your written risk assessment, consider local customs (regarding clothing, local laws or religious customs and more), local provisions such as water quality and electricity reliability and local healthcare provision for both routine and emergency situations.

It is also worth checking that your employees’/volunteers’ passports and visa arrangements are suitable for what your charity has planned and that all of this is communicated clearly, and well in advance, to those travelling.

You should also make plans and contingencies that you can follow in the case of an emergency. When considering emergency situations, your priorities should be establishing communication links and regularly assessing the information and risks that you are facing to determine the best course of action. You should ensure that you have contact details for all relevant parties, for instance, charity headquarters, insurers, medical providers, local fixers etc.

Once this planning is complete, you should consider an appropriate travel policy for your employees and volunteers. Your travel policy should cover your employees and volunteers much like any other business would and should include medical costs, repatriation, trip cancellation, baggage loss, legal expenses and personal liability and personal accident.

Normally, your Employers’ and Public Liability will cover you when travelling overseas on short-term trips. However, ensure that your insurer is made aware that you have staff and volunteers travelling abroad.  They may need to have this noted, and may also have some questions around the activities being carried out, in order to provide cover.

Some charities may ask their individual staff and volunteers to arrange their own insurance, however, a business travel policy will allow your charity to centrally manage the policy which can be more convenient and cost-effective for all involved. Business Travel insurance is widely available, however, you may benefit from the experience, advice and support of a specialist charity insurer or broker, like CaSE Insurance, when planning your journey.

Extra resources:

Read more about CaSE Insurance’s Group Travel Insurance policy: www.caseinsurance.co.uk/insurance/group-travel/

Read more about Volunteering Overseas: The Pros and Cons via NCVO Knowhow Nonprofit: https://knowhownonprofit.org/people/your-development/future/volunteering-overseas