Discretion protects SME doing business in crisis areas

Small and medium-sized entities (SME) are in a dilemma, if they are offered lucrative contracts in crisis areas. On the one hand they cannot afford to turn down such opportunities, on the other hand they hardly dispose of the means enabling professional protection of their employess on the scene. A typical example is the recent, well-publicized abduction of the two German engineers Bräunlich and Nitzschke. One thing of which many people are unaware: Apart from Iraq even apparently unproblematic countries such as Mexico are quite a dangerous place.

Given that discretion is a major factor for the protection from kidnappers and robbers, it is difficult for small and medium-sized companies to gather reliable information prior to an employee´s business trip. As an example may serve the fact that assurances insuring against ransom claims are not authorized to promote this service. However, an article in the Zeitschrift Wirtschaft by the Chamber for Commerce and Industry Munich in addition to the foreign assurances Hiscox, AIG (USA) and PIA-Nassau Europe also lists the German Gerling and to a limited extent the Allianz Versicherung as companies which offer such a kind of insurance. The insurance policies in question, however, provide help only after bad things have already happened. Therefore a responsible employer has to do everything possible in order to avoid such crisis situations right from the start. Respectable sources of information are the Deutsche Industrie- und Handelskammertag with links to all Chambers for Commerce and Industry (which will then carry out the counselling) as well as the Federal Diplomatic country specific information. Additional starting points can be found here:

GERMAN