Duty of Care

I learned a new term last week—Duty of Care. Don’t worry, not because something crazy happened, but because my mom’s seatmate on a flight home was in charge of Duty of Care for a large corporation. I had never heard the term before, but as soon as I did I made sure my company has someone responsible for it. Luckily, we do. Basically, Duty of Care is making sure that a company’s business travelers and expats are taken care of in the event of a natural disaster or medical emergency. While doing research, some of the situations that came up from Christopher Business Travel were:

  • While working overseas, an employee gets sick and does not have access to adequate medical treatment
  • During a natural disaster, a company realizes that it does not have sustainable business continuity plans, and/or employees cannot be evacuated easily and face unnecessary hardship
  • An employee travels to a country where malaria is endemic. She is not given prophylaxis or education on malaria by her employer. She contracts the disease and gets very sick.

This last one hit really close to home for my mom, as next month several of her employees are headed to a country where malaria is a huge problem. Good thing she ran into this woman! There are several ways to get Duty of Care coverage for small businesses.

Readers, have you heard of this? Ever had a need for it while traveling internationally? Sounds like a good type of coverage to have!

(Don’t forget! There’s a big contest coming up this week so STAY TUNED!!)


  1. Add to the above list – political disturbances! Everyone was surprised by the London riots last year!

    Working for an international organization, we always had the insurance coverage that covered overseas care (Aetna Global – which reimbursed in local currency, and you can submit receipts in other languages), and we also had supplemental coverage for medical evacuation and other emergencies, like International SOS. http://www.internationalsos.com/en/

    I also recommend checking out the CDC and State Dept websites for the country you’re visiting, and registering with the US Embassy so you can get travel alerts and also get recommendations for medical care (English-speaking doctors for example). Each US Embassy website has a page for American Citizen Services where you can register online.

    Lonely Planet guides are also pretty good for country-specific medical advice/info.

  2. If you are sending employees in harm’s way (countries with maleria, yellow fever and other diseases) you should at least send them to a public health office to get recommended shots and travel prescriptions.

    As for mom’s sending folks into malaria areas, they should consider spraying clothing with permethrin if they are going to be out and about.

  3. Working for a company that has offices in 79 developing countries has taught me a lot about the importance of good international insurance, security, and medical practices! You can always tell when someone’s about to head out on their first trip because their arms are sore from all the vaccines. Luckily, we don’t end up using the coverage all that often, but it’s priceless when we do.

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