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Kidnapping and Ransom Insurance: Is it necessary?

The recent kidnapping saga of the heiress to the Bossini empire, Queenie Law, and the manhunt for the suspects, had all of Hong Kong enraptured for the better part of a week. While this is not a common occurrence in the city, it has had a run-on effect in the insurance industry, with many providers in Hong Kong reporting that they have seen a spike in the number of inquiries regarding kidnapping and ransom insurance and whether it actually is available in Hong Kong.

Posted on May 08, 2015 by Rob McBroom

September 9, 2015 Update: This article is being rereleased as kidnapping has once again become a headline in the region. It was recently reported that 170 people have been abducted in Macau casinos in the 1st six months of 2015 alone due to outstanding debts following the economic downturn in China. This has lead to a bit of a boom in people obtaining kidnapping and ransom insurance, and understandably so.

What exactly is kidnapping and ransom insurance

Chances are good that if you don’t live or work in a dangerous area where kidnapping the of High Net Worth Individuals and foreigners is a relatively common occurrence, you may have never given thought to the idea, or even the concept, of kidnapping insurance.

Simply put, kidnapping and ransom insurance is meant to cover any costs associated with kidnapping, hijacking, and usually wrongful detainment. The vast majority of the plans in the market are referred to as indemnity plans, meaning the provider will reimburse approved costs related to the above incidents. As such, many of the plans are not designed to actually pay any ransom money.  

Should I purchase plans like these?

There are a number of situations in which kidnapping and ransom insurance can be useful. One of the most common is if you work in the natural resources or news industry, spending a large amount of time in the field. Because many of the oil, gas, mineral fields, and news stories that are accessible from Hong Kong originate in somewhat dangerous areas where the kidnapping of working HNW individuals and foreigners can occur at any time. If you work in these industries, or need to travel to these areas on a regular basis, then this type of insurance is highly important to secure.

The same can be said for expats who are based in Hong Kong with multinational corporations that are expanding into regions like parts of rural China, the Philippines, and regions of both South East Asia and Africa, where kidnapping of foreigners - many of whom are perceived to be rich businessmen - has been reported.

If you stay in Hong Kong, where kidnapping is fairly uncommon, these policies may seem a little less necessary. That being said, if you do work in a potentially volatile position, such as in the public spotlight, there is always a higher risk of kidnapping happening to you or your family. In short, if you feel that you, or your family, are at any risk, then this type of insurance would be a good idea - if only to give you peace of mind.

What are my options?

Coincidentally, around the time that Queenie Law’s kidnapping and subsequent manhunt took place in Hong Kong, Pacific Prime’s China health insurance branch launched a new kidnapping and ransom insurance solution. If you are based in China, or are considering moving to China for work, then this solution may be a viable one for you and your family. Click here to learn more about it.

If you are planning on staying in Hong Kong, there are a number of providers who offer such plans. One of the most comprehensive is offered to Aetna InterGlobal members. Supported by international crisis management experts at red24, Aetna InterGlobal offers travel and crisis coverage with certain plans that includes kidnapping and ransom plan support for their members.

About Aetna InterGlobal’s enhanced crisis coverage

This coverage provides 24/7 advice and support from over 400 specialists who work to reduce your risks while you are overseas. They are also on hand for security concerns, including the need for evacuation due to civil uprising, instructions on what to do after an earthquake or your essential travel documents have been stolen, etc.

To serve members, there are two versions of the plan available:

  • Advice Line - Available free of charge to members who purchase any UltraCare international medical insurance plan, members gain access to red24’s advice line. This includes information such as: Expert safety advice, access to information on 230+ countries, travel safety briefings, alerts, and more.

  • Action Response - Available free of charge to members who purchase either an UltraCare Comprehensive or Elite plan. Members with these plans benefit from On-the-ground crisis management support for situations where your safety could be compromised. Emergency evacuation is also available.

With both of these plans, if you need advice, red24 experts can help, and should you find yourself in a kidnapping or ransom situation, you can contact red24 for help.  

According to Aetna InterGlobal, “When travelling to, or operating in high-risk regions, individuals and organizations may be vulnerable to criminal acts such as kidnapping and extortion. red24 can assist in managing kidnap risks, from mitigation training to crisis management planning.” They can also offer advice on how to resolve actual incidents, and if need be can help directly.

Neil Raymond, Managing Director at Pacific Prime, commented on the plans, “By partnering with the crisis management experts at red24 Aetna InterGlobal can offer an unparalleled level of service, along with quality information, to their members. These plans are some of the most comprehensive on the market and should be considered for all members with existing Aetna InterGlobal plans who plan on travelling to, or working in, potentially volatile locations.”

To learn more about Aetna InterGlobal, this specific plan, and other kidnapping and ransom insurance plans, contact an expert at Pacific Prime today to learn about your options.

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