Warfare has raged on our planet since man first walked upright and disputed territorial boundaries. Those battles have impacted not only the lives of those they came into direct contact with, but also those on the periphery, particularly in the areas of business and commerce.

Business, as seen in the war in Israel, persists despite challenges. And those with interests in traveling to war zones, whether for business or humanitarian reasons, will continue to do so. Fortunately, there are insurance products to protect individuals and groups traveling to war risk zones. This protection can include death and disability coverage, along with medical evacuation services. And such policies cover someone even if they're on their way to JFK and get in a car accident on the Belt Parkway (which some New Yorkers may claim is far more dangerous).

For skeptics questioning the rationale behind conducting business in conflict-ridden areas, we'd like to share three real-world scenarios that demonstrate the necessity.

We recently were approached by a group of attorneys with business in Tel Aviv. They have a trial scheduled for a seven-month period and do not have life insurance for their business. No traditional carrier will underwrite a new policy for people traveling to war zones or even hot zones. The advisor was forced to seek support outside the domestic markets. By tapping into international insurance providers, like Lloyd's of London, the advisor found alternative solutions. In this case, the attorneys were able to obtain an accidental death policy that included accidental disability while working in and around war risk zones. It won't cover them if they have a heart attack overseas, but if they experience a war-related loss (short of one of the attorneys picking up a rifle and yelling "Charge!"), they would be covered.

Another example involves a large humanitarian food distributor at the U.S.-Mexico border, contracted by the U.S. government. The government has also contracted this business to run food distribution services in and around the border crossing of Israel and Gaza. To protect his business and his family, the client sought short-term coverage for 30 days while he established his operation.

The final scenario involves an international group of business executives planning to visit Israel to assess the current infrastructural damage and begin planning restoration. This group, committed to its mission, has already purchased flak jackets and helmets for participants and staff while touring the Gaza border communities. They are working with security consultants and have security personnel traveling with them in plain clothes. This group could involve a total of 300 people across more than 25 trips spread throughout the year. But they, too, will need similar coverage that traditional carriers are unable to provide. Again, this type of coverage will fall squarely on the shoulders of specialized markets such as Lloyd's of London.

It's important to emphasize these types of policies don't provide a benefit if you die or become disabled due to a medical issue while you are traveling. The policy, however, can include medical coverage, like health insurance, but it's not going to pay a death or disability claim due to a sickness-related event or a pre-existing condition.

Advisors also should note that these insurance products are short term in nature, likely lasting 30-60 days and written around the itinerary.

In conclusion, if you already have a life insurance policy, it will cover you in Israel should the unthinkable happen. However, if you don't have one and plan to go to Israel, no U.S. carrier will issue you a life or disability insurance policy today; you would need to access coverage through the international marketplace.

In the words of American Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, "War is hell."

For those traveling into high-risk zones, it's crucial to remember that protecting oneself goes beyond helmets and flak jackets; it also involves incorporating proper insurance coverage into a safety plan.



WRITTEN BY
Sean McNiff

McNiff is the vice president of business development and marketing at Exceptional Risk Advisors, Mahwah, N.J. Exceptional Risk Advisors is a Lloyd’s of London Coverholder, advising clients on high-limit specialty life, accident and disability products. Email: Sean.McNiff@exceptionalriskadvisors.com.