Mexico insurance – do you need kidnap and ransom cover?
6 June 2014
This week, in an attempt to address the ever-growing risk of kidnap, the Mexican government doubled prison sentences for those found guilty of the crime. The minimum sentence now stands at 40 years, the maximum, 140 years.
Dramatic increase in incidents
The statistics for kidnap here are staggering. In 2007 the number of reported kidnappings stood at 438. In 2013, the figure reached 1,700. However, it is believed that these figures represent just 2% of the true total, since most victims don’t report abductions for fear of reprisals. This means that the actual number of kidnappings could be closer to 105,000 a year.
This dramatic increase could be an unexpected side effect of the government’s crackdown on drug cartels. As drug monies begin to decrease the cartels are looking to kidnapping as a new source of revenue. The difference is that, whereas before those most affected by drug-related crime were usually those also involved in it, now kidnapping could happen to almost anyone in Mexico, local residents and foreign nationals alike.
Express kidnapping on the rise
Many abductions take the form of so-called ‘express’ kidnappings, with the victim being held for a few (very frightening) hours or days until they agree to empty their bank account or their relatives or company agree a bigger ransom.
While popular tourist destinations, such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen, pose a relatively low risk of this type of crime, anyone thinking of travelling or working outside of these areas may want to include kidnap and ransom cover in their travel insurance.
Ten states where you need to be most aware
A national anti-kidnap committee is being set up and will focus most of its attention on the ten states where this crime is most prevalent, Tabasco, Guerrero, Zacatecas, Mexico, Tamaulipas, Morelos, Michoacan, Veracruz, Durango and Oaxaca.
Kidnap and ransom insurance for Mexico?
Bellwood Prestbury provide kidnap and ransom insurance with worldwide cover including Mexico, but it is worth noting that most policies exclude express kidnapping. “Most people who take our kidnap and ransom insurance have high profile jobs or work that takes them to some of the regions where foreign nationals have previously been snatched, especially along the border and eastern Mexico,” says Coral Parfitt.