Does the Yemen conflict make high-risk Middle East insurance advisable?

31 March 2015

Anyone who has visited or worked in Yemen in recent months will know that the deteriorating security situation has meant that specialist high-risk Yemen insurance is essential. The situation now looks set to get yet more dangerous with the potential to spread into a regional conflict as Saudi Arabia and Iran take opposite sides. Does this mean that high-risk insurance for the Middle East is advisable for anyone working in the wider region?

New Arab League military force announced

The recent decision of the Arab League, meeting in Egypt, to create a joint military force, underlines the severity of the situation across the region. President Sisi of Egypt describes the growing threats to the region as "unprecedented". 

Throughout 2014 the Iranian backed Houthi rebels fought with the predominantly Sunni government of President Hadi. On top of this, Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula increased its attacks on both factions and more recently a Yemeni branch of Islamic state has added to the misery, last week killing 140 people when it bombed two mosques in the capital Sana’a.

In February, President Hadi was forced to flee to Aden when Houthi forces took control of the capital, Sana’a. Then, in recent days, as the rebels advanced on Aden, he was on the run again, escaping to Riyadh and requesting military assistance of the Saudis and other regional allies. The airstrikes against Houthi positions began just hours later.

The risk of wider regional conflict

Iranian backing of the Houthi rebels has been causing concern in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries for some time. Now, with the Houthi advance on the strategically important port of Aden, a ten nation predominantly Sunni coalition has been formed to stop the Shia-led Houthis gaining control over the entrance to the Red Sea.

Iran has reacted furiously to the airstrikes, condemning them as US-backed aggression and warning of unpredictable consequences. Meanwhile President Hadi accused Tehran of destabilising the country, calling the Houthis the "stooges of Iran".

Specialist Middle East high-risk insurance may be required

Given the volatility of the regional crisis anyone travelling or working in the Middle East should keep up to date with the latest Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice and the security situation in that particular country.  Be aware that specialist high-risk insurance may well be necessary depending on the area and the capacity in which you are operating.

Should you need advice or information about your insurance requirements please call us at Bellwood Prestbury. We have years of experience in providing flexible and robust protection for those working in the Middle East. We understand the challenges of operating in an unpredictable climate and can provide high-risk cover that will remain effective in the event of war, terrorism and even kidnap. As Lloyd’s Coverholders, we can create cost-effective bespoke policies for the specific needs of companies, NGOs and individuals.

For more information please contact the Bellwood Prestbury team on +44 (0) 207 305 5650.

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Categories: Kidnap & ransom, Kidnapping insurance, Humanitarian & NGO, Journalists & Media, Yemen insurance

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