Feedback from our field experience

Learning by doing is a very good way but when it comes to the health of your employee it is better to know the risks you could be facing while working abroad. Do not Let the known unknows jeopardize your employees’ health.

For an international company, repatriation insurance must be considered with great attention when sending your employees abroad. In your corporate risk analysis, you should not neglect the risk of having 1 or many employees being ill or injured abroad, creating an emergency case with which you will have to deal in the best possible way. The communication channels may not be good, and it may be difficult to evaluate the health status of your employee. This stressful situation may have already happened in your company and if not, it could happen sooner or later (never being also an option). Be sure to be ready to take fast and safe action the day it happens.

In Sygma we have been sending our employees all over the world for the last 20 years. I, Roberto Magri, CEO of Sygma, have been directly involved as the main communication person in case of urgent matters concerning the health of our people. Fortunately, it has only happened a few times but let’s say that when that phone call comes you forget everything you were doing before and the only idea you have is to bring back home your guy as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this can hardly be possible.

Your employee may need direct treatment on site or in the nearest suitable hospital. Here comes the expertise of your repatriation insurance. With the local doctor they will check the health status and decide if there is the possibility to treat the patient in the country where he is, in the neighboring countries or if it is necessary to bring him back to his residence country. Your insurance could also decide to delegate on site his own doctor to confirm the medical status. This is the beginning of an intense time where the decision that we take must be the best for the short and the long term.

In the few cases we had so far, we were always able to do the first treatment in the working country and once the patient would be stabilized to bring him home on a commercial or medicalized flight. Once at home he would be taken in charge by the medical center of his residence country.

Last but not least, here are some recommendations if you are sending your people abroad:

  1. Ask your employee to have a medical check before leaving. “Fit to Work”
  2. Never take the risk of sending your people abroad without the correct sanitary insurance.
    A medicalized airplane his extremely expensive.
  3. If your employee is going abroad with his family check if his / her co-travelling family is covered.
  4. Make sure that your insurance covers the country where you are going to. Some countries with extremes geopolitical situation may be excluded.
  5. Check if there is a limit of the stay in the working country. Most insurance companies will give a limitation to the duration of your employee’s stay in the country, considering that after this delay you should have local insurance.
  6. Prepare a procedure to follow in case of emergency and share it with your employees.
  7. In case of emergency do not let only your insurance follow the case. Make sure you keep in touch with them, your employee if possible and a member of his family.
  8. Once your employee has been brought back to his residence country, the repatriation insurance ceases to cover him and therefore you need to make sure that your employee is well insured in his residence country.

If you find our article interesting / useful and you would like to have more information about repatriation insurance do not hesitate to keep in touch with us: