If you are planning to do business or travel in Yemen, you need specialist advice about Yemen insurance. On going fighting, political unrest and levels of terrorism present dangers that render most standard insurance policies invalid. Travel to Yemen is strongly discouraged without expert advice, high-risk insurance and the strictest security precautions.
Yemen insurance – quick facts
- The political and security situation could deteriorate quickly
- International health insurance in Yemen is essential, along with cover for emergency evacuation
- There is a high-risk of armed attack, terrorism and kidnapping
- Piracy is a threat in the Gulf of Aden, the Somali Basin and the Indian Ocean – consider maritime security insurance
- Specialist Yemen insurance – can include protection for personnel, property, vehicles, equipment and crews and cargoes for offshore operations
- We can help you to understand and meet contractual and local insurance obligations in Yemen
- Due to the high risk to personal security, specialist Yemen insurance is advised for visitors and expats
- We can cover you for life, personal accident, personal disability, medical emergencies, evacuation and other specialist insurance needs, such and kidnap and ransom
Risks and dangers of visiting Yemen
Yemen is the Middle East’s poorest country. Sitting on the ancient silk route at the crossroads of the Middle East, Africa and Asia, it is thought to be the site of the biblical kingdom of Sheba. The Unified Republic of Yemen came into being in 1990 with the merger of the pro-communist south and the more traditional and tribal north. Tensions between north and south have erupted into civil war before, once in 1994 and again in 2009.
In 2011 an uprising inspired by the Arab Spring led to the ousting of President Saleh who had been in power for 22 years. Since then a unity government has been in power, but north/south, Sunni/Shia and inter tribal tensions have continued. Meanwhile there has been the ever-increasing threat from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), who have exploited religious and tribal divisions to cause further destabilisation.
Yemen has seen escalating unrest in many parts, throughout 2014. The northeast has seen intense fighting between government troops and Houthi militants, while in the capital, Sana’a, protests have frequently turned violent; with thousands of Shia Houthi activists marching against the Sunni dominated government. Though the UN have brokered a peace deal, the security situation remains unpredictable.
No part of Yemen can be considered safe from violence and western and British interests (such as residential compounds, military, oil and transport facilities) are likely targets for terrorism.
Should your business take you to Yemen against FCO advice, please be aware that typical business, life and travel insurance policies will be invalid and that securing high-risk specialist Yemen insurance should be a priority. This should include cover that will remain effective in the event of acts of war or terrorism. There is a high threat of kidnap by criminals, tribal groups and Islamic militants and foreign nationals are a prized target. In view of this, kidnap and ransom insurance may also be advised.
Always carefully plan your movements and consider your security arrangements. Keep your travel documents and information about the local and national security situation up-to-date. Follow FCO advice and be prepared to leave an area quickly or lock down for a few days should fighting break out in your vicinity. Any travel will probably require military or professional security escort.
Do not leave vehicles unattended, and if you must do so, check carefully for any attached devices or suspicious packages nearby. Treat any mail or parcels from unfamiliar sources with suspicion. Carjacking is another serious concern – keep car doors locked and windows closed.
Piracy continues to plague the waters of the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean and the Somali Basin. There is also the potential for maritime terrorism. Maritime security insurance can be arranged for crews and cargoes.
Other risks to visitors and expats are presented by poor infrastructure, dangerous roads and scarce health care. In view of this specialist medical Yemen insurance is essential and must include emergency evacuation and repatriation cover. Polio and malaria are common and there have been reports of dengue fever. To minimise the risk of illness, avoid drinking tap water, peel all fruits and vegetables, and avoid rare-cooked meat, dairy products, and food sold by street vendors.
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Latest advice from the FCO
The FCO advise against all travel to Yemen. There is a high threat of terrorism, kidnap and piracy. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.