Sponsored: Falck Global Assistance

Fulfilling Duty of Care, Anywhere

These days, businesses of all sizes have some connection to a foreign market and send more employees on the road. That's why they should partner with experts in global assistance so that they can continue to be experts in their own industry.
By: | June 28, 2017 • 6 min read


It’s a small world, and getting smaller every day.

Today’s “borderless economy,” the product of globalization and digitization, has tugged the corners of the world in a little closer. Businesses of every size and function likely have some connection to a foreign country, whether that country is a potential market, distributor, manufacturer or supplier.

As a result, international business travel is burgeoning. No longer a luxury reserved for senior executives, international trips have become a necessity for larger swaths of decision-makers within companies.

When employees embark on travel abroad, whether for a short trip or a long-term assignment, employers have a duty of care to align the security and medical resources a worker might need to keep them safe and healthy.

Many companies, however, underestimate the complexity of that undertaking.

“Imagine the complexity of the U.S. health care system, and multiply that by every country in the world. Add in language and cultural barriers, scarcity of resources and transportation challenges in remote areas, and the potential for political and economic instability,” said Jean-Marc Griscelli, CEO of the Americas and Australia for Falck Global Assistance, one of the world’s oldest global assistance companies.

“There are a lot of pieces to put into place, and people may be moving around faster than companies can align those pieces.”

Network of Local Providers

One of those pieces is a local contingent of medical providers.

To truly promise quick care for employees in the event of a medical emergency, employers need to build relationships with quality local providers wherever they send their workers. Those relationships cut down on the time it takes to identify and transport workers to the nearest hospital or treatment center.

But in today’s environment of rapid change, businesses can’t necessarily predict where they will have to send employees in a year or even a few months’ time. It’s a tall task then, to proactively identify the best quality providers in any given area and build relationships with them.

Jean-Marc Griscelli, CEO of the Americas and Australia

Falck Global Assistance, while based in Denmark, operates eleven alarm centers around the globe and has a presence in 47 countries. This allows the assistance company to develop local knowledge to keep its finger on the pulse of the healthcare and security landscape around the globe.

It is also working in the remotest of regions and emerging markets as well, which provides an advantage for companies looking to expand in those areas.

“You need knowledge of a country’s resources and health care system to provide the best assistance and get the best providers for not just emergency medical care, but also security and repatriation services,” said Jean-Marc Griscelli.

This expertise and a worldwide network of relationships can also help employers get a fair price.

“Some providers, when they learn the patient is American, may try to increase the bill. If you don’t have a working knowledge of the regional norms, you may not question it,” Jean-Marc Griscelli said. Knowing the local rates for different types of services ensures that quality care is delivered at a reasonable price. Falck’s Network Management Team helps to better control costs for clients by fostering relationships with local providers while leveraging its global presence to keep tabs on changes in health care costs.

“Our top priority is always finding the best care, but we also have to balance the bottom dollar,” Jean-Marc Griscelli said.

Effective Communication

A key component of gaining local knowledge and putting it to use is having language services available to traveling employees. Knowing where to go for help, after all, isn’t all that helpful if the employee can’t communicate with the provider.

Language services firms can facilitate the transfer and translation of medical records from facility to facility, regardless of where they are created. And that capability has to go beyond everyday language. In the case of emergency care, translators have to understand “med speak.” The jargon that doctors and other health professionals use needs to be presented in plain language to employees and employers.

“This is such a critical piece, because we have to be able to communicate with providers to identify the best course of action and get them information they need,” Jean-Marc Griscelli said. Falck provides language services in-house.

Around-the-Clock Access

International travel also means an employee could fall ill, suffer an injury, or require emergency evacuation while it’s the middle of the night back in the U.S. No matter when an incident occurs, employers have to have the resources in place to answer that employee’s call.

Having guidance from someone back home not only reassures workers that their care is being coordinated for them; it also provides a sense of comfort, knowing that their employer is indeed looking out for them and prioritizing their safety. It provides a sense of security to know that they have help making decisions around their care while they are in an unfamiliar place, and possibly very far from home.

“Our call centers operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There is no waiting to get care,” said Jean-Marc Griscelli. “The first question we always ask is ‘Do you feel you are in safe hands?’ We want to provide a seamless and comfortable experience for travelers anywhere in the world.”

Partner with Experts

Managing these moving parts takes time, resources, and the advantages of a global footprint. Too often, Jean-Marc Griscelli said, small and mid-size companies that grew rapidly or perhaps didn’t anticipate expanding to other countries try to take on the challenges themselves. The result can be a disjointed approach to duty of care.

“You end up with piecemeal solutions that aren’t comprehensive. And often, the people putting the programs together are doing it in a pinch because they have to. It’s not part of their main job,” he said.

That method may work for a time, but a major incident or emergency will quickly reveal the holes, which jeopardizes employees’ safety and increases liability risk for employers.
With so many moving parts, allowing dedicated assistance companies to handle the coordination of medical care, security and transportation services ensures that an employer’s duty of care is met without pulling away their resources.

“Let us be the experts in global assistance, so you can be the expert in your own industry,” Jean-Marc Griscelli said.

Falck uses an in-house team to provide every service, pulling each of its 38,000 employees worldwide into the global assistance division. This ensures continuity of care, including follow-ups if and when an injured employee returns home. They also provide real-time travel tracking and travel alerts via push notification.

The company also utilizes an integrated technology platform that can handle cases of every type in one place. Users have back-end access to their cases so they can see updates in real time. Employers count on that level of dependability, transparency and streamlined service.

“At Falck, we’re all about people helping people,” Jean-Marc Griscelli said. “We leverage all of our in-house resources worldwide to make sure your workers come home safe.”

To learn more about Falck’s assistance services, email [email protected] or visit http://www.falck.com/en/globalassistance/services/.

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This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with Falck Global Assistance. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.




Falck Global Assistance helps people travelling and working abroad. We help and assist with international travel emergency assistance and medical and security risk solutions globally.

Alternative Energy

A Shift in the Wind

As warranties run out on wind turbines, underwriters gain insight into their long-term costs.
By: | September 12, 2017 • 6 min read

Wind energy is all grown up. It is no longer an alternative, but in some wholesale markets has set the incremental cost of generation.

As the industry has grown, turbine towers have as well. And as the older ones roll out of their warranty periods, there are more claims.

This is a bit of a pinch in a soft market, but it gives underwriters new insight into performance over time — insight not available while manufacturers were repairing or replacing components.

Charles Long, area SVP, renewable energy, Arthur J. Gallagher

“There is a lot of capacity in the wind market,” said Charles Long, area senior vice president for renewable energy at broker Arthur J. Gallagher.

“The segment is still very soft. What we are not seeing is any major change in forms from the major underwriters. They still have 280-page forms. The specialty underwriters have a 48-page form. The larger carriers need to get away from a standard form with multiple endorsements and move to a form designed for wind, or solar, or storage. It is starting to become apparent to the clients that the firms have not kept up with construction or operations,” at renewable energy facilities, he said.

Third-party liability also remains competitive, Long noted.

“The traditional markets are doing liability very well. There are opportunities for us to market to multiple carriers. There is a lot of generation out there, but the bulk of the writing is by a handful of insurers.”

Broadly the market is “still softish,” said Jatin Sharma, head of business development for specialty underwriter G-Cube.

“There has been an increase in some distressed areas, but there has also been some regional firming. Our focus is very much on the technical underwriting. We are also emphasizing standardization, clean contracts. That extends to business interruption, marine transit, and other covers.”

The Blade Problem

“Gear-box maintenance has been a significant issue for a long time, and now with bigger and bigger blades, leading-edge erosion has become a big topic,” said Sharma. “Others include cracking and lightning and even catastrophic blade loss.”

Long, at Gallagher, noted that operationally, gear boxes have been getting significantly better. “Now it is blades that have become a concern,” he said. “Problems include cracking, fraying, splitting.

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“In response, operators are using more sophisticated inspection techniques, including flying drones. Those reduce the amount of climbing necessary, reducing risk to personnel as well.”

Underwriters certainly like that, and it is a huge cost saver to the owners, however, “we are not yet seeing that credited in the underwriting,” said Long.

He added that insurance is playing an important role in the development of renewable energy beyond the traditional property, casualty, and liability coverages.

“Most projects operate at lower capacity than anticipated. But they can purchase coverage for when the wind won’t blow or the sun won’t shine. Weather risk coverage can be done in multiple ways, or there can be an actual put, up to a fixed portion of capacity, plus or minus 20 percent, like a collar; a straight over/under.”

As useful as those financial instruments are, the first priority is to get power into the grid. And for that, Long anticipates “aggressive forward moves around storage. Spikes into the system are not good. Grid storage is not just a way of providing power when the wind is not blowing; it also acts as a shock absorber for times when the wind blows too hard. There are ebbs and flows in wind and solar so we really need that surge capacity.”

Long noted that there are some companies that are storage only.

“That is really what the utilities are seeking. The storage company becomes, in effect, just another generator. It has its own [power purchase agreement] and its own interconnect.”

“Most projects operate at lower capacity than anticipated. But they can purchase coverage for when the wind won’t blow or the sun won’t shine.”  —Charles Long, area senior vice president for renewable energy, Arthur J. Gallagher

Another trend is co-location, with wind and solar, as well as grid-storage or auxiliary generation, on the same site.

“Investors like it because it boosts internal rates of return on the equity side,” said Sharma. “But while it increases revenue, it also increases exposure. … You may have a $400 million wind farm, plus a $150 million solar array on the same substation.”

In the beginning, wind turbines did not generate much power, explained Rob Battenfield, senior vice president and head of downstream at JLT Specialty USA.

“As turbines developed, they got higher and higher, with bigger blades. They became more economically viable. There are still subsidies, and at present those subsidies drive the investment decisions.”

For example, some non-tax paying utilities are not eligible for the tax credits, so they don’t invest in new wind power. But once smaller companies or private investors have made use of the credits, the big utilities are likely to provide a ready secondary market for the builders to recoup their capital.

That structure also affects insurance. More PPAs mandate grid storage for intermittent generators such as wind and solar. State of the art for such storage is lithium-ion batteries, which have been prone to fires if damaged or if they malfunction.

“Grid storage is getting larger,” said Battenfield. “If you have variable generation you need to balance that. Most underwriters insure generation and storage together. Project leaders may need to have that because of non-recourse debt financing. On the other side, insurers may be syndicating the battery risk, but to the insured it is all together.”

“Grid storage is getting larger. If you have variable generation you need to balance that.” — Rob Battenfield, senior vice president, head of downstream, JLT Specialty USA

There has also been a mechanical and maintenance evolution along the way. “The early-generation short turbines were throwing gears all the time,” said Battenfield.

But now, he said, with fewer manufacturers in play, “the blades, gears, nacelles, and generators are much more mechanically sound and much more standardized. Carriers are more willing to write that risk.”

There is also more operational and maintenance data now as warranties roll off. Battenfield suggested that the door started to open on that data three or four years ago, but it won’t stay open forever.

“When the equipment was under warranty, it would just be repaired or replaced by the manufacturer,” he said.

“Now there’s more equipment out of warranty, there are more claims. However, if the big utilities start to aggregate wind farms, claims are likely to drop again. That is because the utilities have large retentions, often about $5 million. Claims and premiums are likely to go down for wind equipment.”

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Repair costs are also dropping, said Battenfield.

“An out-of-warranty blade set replacement can cost $300,000. But if it is repairable by a third party, it could cost as little as $30,000 to have a specialist in fiberglass do it in a few days.”

As that approach becomes more prevalent, business interruption (BI) coverage comes to the fore. Battenfield stressed that it is important for owners to understand their PPA obligations, as well as BI triggers and waiting periods.

“The BI challenge can be bigger than the property loss,” said Battenfield. “It is important that coverage dovetails into the operator’s contractual obligations.” &

Gregory DL Morris is an independent business journalist based in New York with 25 years’ experience in industry, energy, finance and transportation. He can be reached at [email protected]