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Prepare to manage the exposure of kidnap, ransom, and extortion

One of the insurance policies that most professional service firms operating internationally need—and often do not have—is a kidnap and ransom policy. This policy provides coverage to firms should in the event of the kidnapping and ransom of an employee or the extortion of funds from the firm.

The situations that lead to such exposures are not limited to areas with known conflicts or even to third-world countries. Increasingly, kidnap, ransom, and extortion are worldwide enterprises and, often, very sophisticated. For instance, it is common for criminals to have radio frequency identification (RFID) readers that can identify the nationality of anyone carrying a modern passport. This tool makes focusing on Americans easy. Firm employees could find themselves in an “express kidnapping” where they are abducted and forced to provide a quick payment before being released.

Threats also exist at home. Extortion on a domestic level—such as by hackers who take control of digital information—is a real danger to design firms, which can delay projects and violate contracts because of a hacker who threatens to destroy design documents or release confidential information from the firm’s files. Even without an actual event, a firm could find that it or its employees are the target of a threat to harm or abduct employees, damage firm property, or reveal confidential information.

As kidnap, detention, ransom, and extortion events become more of a reality for companies operating in both foreign and domestic markets, the need for expertise in protecting those assets becomes critical. Schinnerer can provide firms with an insurance program offering kidnap, ransom, and extortion coverage that also provides guidance on the prevention of such events along with access to the expert services of a leading international crisis response firm should an event occur. Schinnerer’s coverage can be an annual or multi-year policy or a trip-specific policy.

Such coverage is rarely discussed by firms that carry it so some firms simply overlook the exposure because it is kept confidential in the industry. But extortion, kidnapping, and ransom exposures need to be examined by firms. Firms awakening to the realities of this area of practice can find more information on our website.

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