Insurance in Afghanistan – flexibility is the key
10 April 2014
Bellwood Prestbury is an expert in Afghanistan insurance. We cover numerous companies and lots of individual contractors involved in everything from engineering, building and telecoms, to security and high-level hospital services.
While we provide many people with insurance through their employer, Lisa Ford, a consultant at Bellwood Prestbury, explains that there has been a significant rise in individual contractors taking United Nations Development programme (UNDP) contracts. They are left to source their own insurance.
“They are given an allowance and are expected to get appropriate insurance for Afghanistan from within the allocated budget,” Lisa explains. “The problem is that some people represent a higher risk than others – possibly because of their medical history or the type of work they are going to do, and that can mean that Personal Accident insurance premiums could be more than the allowance.”
How to get best value Afghanistan insurance
Lisa says that she always asks each individual contractor about the type of work they are doing, the work rotation in and out of country and, crucially, what kind of compensation is most important to them. This allows Lisa to tailor each policy to the precise needs of the individual.
“As a Lloyd’s Coverholder, we have the flexibility to adjust a policy in all kinds of ways. Every area of insurance, from medical evacuation and repatriation to death, temporary or permanent disability can be adjusted in terms of the level of cover. If a client lives alone and doesn’t have a mortgage, death benefit might be much less relevant than disability cover in case they are injured and unable to work. By asking the right questions up front we can make sure each person gets the cover they want and isn't paying for cover they don’t need.
“Similarly, we ask about work rotations. If someone is working three weeks on, three weeks off, a pay by the day policy might be the most cost-effective. I had a security consultant recently who was going to work 12 weeks on, two weeks off, and might stay in Afghanistan for some of his R&R time. For him, an annual policy represented better value.”
Speed is of the essence
With the uncertain security situation, almost everyone who works in Afghanistan knows that they need to take out some level of specialist cover (standard medical and travel insurance exclude dangerous places like Afghanistan), but Lisa says she still gets calls from people on the way to the airport.
“Occasionally they’ve forgotten. Sometime they just take a contract at incredibly short-notice. Either way they are normally in luck. Being a Lloyd’s Coverholder means that we can get policies in place fast. I organised Personal Accident insurance and Kidnap and Ransom insurance for Afghanistan from scratch one Friday afternoon last month and he flew out Saturday morning.”