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Kidnap and ransom insurance: What is it and why might you need it?

Have you ever gone on a business trip to a foreign country and wondered: what would happen if I got kidnapped? If so, you probably thought about your loved ones, if and how your ransom would be paid, and other details. You might have even made a note to research tips to survive a kidnapping just in case.

What you probably didn’t consider is a type of insurance that many don’t think about until it’s too late. This Pacific Prime Latin America article takes a closer look at what kidnap and ransom insurance is and why you might need it.

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What is kidnap and ransom insurance?

Kidnap and ransom insurance, also known as K&R insurance, protects the policyholder against financial losses that are associated with a:

  • Kidnap for ransom
  • Hostage situation
  • Illegal detention
  • Hijacking incident

In order to rescue you in the quickest and safest way possible, kidnap and ransom insurance plans usually provide coverage for things such as:

  • Independent investigation
  • Ransom negotiation
  • Arrangement and delivery of funds
  • Legal liabilities
  • Death or dismemberment

This type of insurance is ideal if you’re traveling to or living in parts of the world where you could be a target for kidnapping. At the very least, it gives you peace of mind knowing that your family members are protected from having to give up their fortunes.

How does kidnap and ransom insurance work?

With most kidnappings, the perpetrators demand that no other parties may be notified. That can be especially challenging, resulting in complications when the family or employer needs to speak to the insurance provider. Consequently, many kidnap and ransom policies include a notification provision that states the policyholder, family, or employer only notify the insurer and authorities about a kidnapping when it is safe to do so.

Once the insurer has been contacted, they start to take action right away by arranging specialists to help in the release of the kidnapped person. This assistance includes:

  • Negotiations
  • Ransom delivery
  • Evacuation
  • Appropriate care

However, the insurer does not directly pay out the ransom. Instead, the family or employer must pay the ransom out of pocket or take out a loan. It’s worth noting that most kidnap and ransom policies cover the interest on loans for this purpose.

The insurer will offer reimbursement for the ransom and related expenses to the policyholder once the critical situation is over. If total costs exceed a specified limit, covering the extra costs is the policyholder’s responsibility.

Why you might need kidnap and ransom insurance

Any person who is traveling or living in an area of the world that is known for its economic instability, civil unrest, or conflict between citizens and military or law enforcement should consider securing kidnap and ransom insurance. This type of insurance is especially important for individuals with a high net worth or high profile. Similarly, foreigners, expats, and their families are often targeted since they are seen as having the funds available to meet ransom demands.

Kidnap & ransom insurance coverage is considered a must for places such as Mexico, the Middle East, Indonesia, and Africa. The exact number of K&R incidents that occur every year is undetermined, as many go unreported. According to Constellis’ Kidnap for Ransom Insight Report 2020, the Americas experienced an 85% increase in the number of foreign nationals kidnapped in the region from September to October 2020. The sharp increase is likely due to the economic disruption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Mexico, there are estimated to be more than 200 organized criminal groups operating in 75% of the country. From November 2019 to October 2020, Mexico was fifth in the top 10 countries for the kidnapping of foreign citizens. Kidnapping is also a major risk in Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, and other areas of Latin America, particularly in terrorism hotspots and warzones.

How much does kidnap and ransom insurance cost?

The cost of a kidnap and ransom insurance policy can vary. Some travel insurance policies may cover it, which means you might not need to pay extra. Companies with employees who travel to high-risk areas often have kidnap and ransom coverage as part of their corporate insurance plan. The costs of policies depend on factors like:

  • The type of coverage
  • Benefit amounts
  • Destination countries
  • The number of people covered

While kidnap and ransom insurance can be costly (especially when traveling to hotspots), it is worth the expense if an actual kidnapping were to occur. After all, kidnap and ransom claims can run into hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars.

Do you need kidnap and ransom insurance?

Kidnap and ransom insurance protects individuals and corporations against financial losses that are associated with kidnapping, ransom demands, and extortion. Even though these policies can be complicated and costly, they are considered essentials for certain individuals (especially those with a high net worth) traveling to or living in areas where the risk of being kidnapped is high.

Looking for a kidnap and ransom insurance plan, but don’t know where to start? Pacific Prime Latin America is here to help. We work with leading insurance providers in the region to offer a wide range of insurance plans, including kidnap & ransom insurance and life insurance. Our insurance experts will offer you a tailored plan comparison that reflects your needs and budgets and guide you through the details of your chosen plan.

Contact us to get started today!

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Senior Copywriter at Pacific Prime Latin America
Jantra Jacobs is a Senior Copywriter at Pacific Prime with over 10 years of writing and editing experience. She writes and edits a diverse variety of online and offline copy, including sales and marketing materials ranging from articles and advertising copy to reports, guides, RFPs, and more.

Jantra curates and reports on the results of Pacific Prime’s monthly newsletters, as well as manages Pacific Prime’s Deputy Global CEO’s LinkedIn posts. Complemented by her background in business writing, Jantra’s passion for health, insurance, and employee benefits helps her create engaging content - no matter how complex the subject is.

Growing up as a third-culture kid has given her a multicultural perspective that helps her relate to expats and their families while 8 years of working remotely have given her unique insight into hybrid work arrangements and enthusiasm for employee benefits.
Jantra Jacobs