Corporate Travel Management News and Tips

Travel Risk Management vs. Duty of Care

February 14, 2018 | For Travel Managers, For Travelers

As a travel manager, you’re aware that duty of care and risk management fall in your wheelhouse of responsibilities. But do you know the difference? Do you know how to handle risk management?

All too often in the world of corporate travel services, these two terms are mistakenly interchanged. However, there is a difference—one that is important to know. Here’s the low down on both.

How Are They Different?

Duty of care is the concept that a company has legal and moral obligation to the wellbeing of its employees while they travel. Risk management is the plan of action a company takes to fulfill its duty of care.  It’s easy to see why these two are accidentally substituted.

This clarification is easy on paper, but when put in to practice, it gets tricky. Risk management is an all-encompassing term, so what’s included in a company’s coverage can be fuzzy. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding means a company is never confidently sure in protection from liability.

The Risk Management Formula

A travel manager must manage risk, as the name suggests, but he or she has no ability to prevent it entirely. No matter how many policies are in place, a company can’t completely safeguard its employees from every single danger.

When figuring out what your risk management should include, it simply boils down to:

  • understanding the risks your travelers could face
  • determining how to mitigate them
  • insuring against high-level risks

Some travel managers incorrectly assume that their coverage should only include disastrous events like terrorist attacks, volcanos, tornados, and tsunamis. This little misstep could easily distract you from the everyday risks your travelers face like pedestrian and car accidents while abroad.

Types of Coverage

For large corporations with world travelers, their risk management will look much different than a small business who only travels domestically. Knowing which countries are higher risk should play a role in your approach. For example, the U.K. and Japan aren’t considered high-risk areas, and therefore, wouldn’t necessarily be included.

Between different sized companies, the amount of coverage can also vary. Smaller ones may only insure against major potential crises, while larger companies are willing to cover against all possibilities. Though it isn’t advised in the long run, more organizations are trending toward higher deductibles, as opposed to premiums. This could end up costing them more money than they bargained for.

When travelers sit on long, over-night flights, their safety is in jeopardy if they are required to rent and drive a car. This risk is heightened in a country with different driving laws. If your travelers find themselves in this dangerous situation, implement a policy that requires them to take advantage of a driving service. Having something in place ensures your company is covered should the employee decide against it.

Bearing the Responsibility

You probably feel responsible for most of the “duty of care” burden. However, this infrastructure can lead to unfair accountability and a failed department. Without extended support, it’s difficult to know your company is headed covered as much as possible. 

This is typically the situation for smaller companies with traveling employees. Duty of care may fall on the shoulders of the CFO or even a secretary, both who have plenty of other responsibilities to bear. If this is the case for you, be sure to consult with external HR companies to ensure your policies are adequate and current.

Larger, complex organizations are made up of departments that all could technically contribute to duty of care, but they aren’t necessarily collaborating or owning up to it. Security, HR, legal, insurance, and communications are just a few who can get involved in shouldering the responsibility.

Planning a trip is difficult enough without the thought of risk management. Make your next corporate business trip a breeze by working with Adelman Travel. We’ve been working with clients of all sizes for over thirty years. Call us today at 800-248-5562 to get started.