The world is stirring again.
With pandemic restrictions continuing to lift, more U.S. businesses are getting back to, well, business. That means business travel is picking up. Now is a good time for employers to re-evaluate protections they have for employees who need to move about – whether it’s around the globe or across town.
Business travel is one of the top 10 activities employers are eager to resume. In The Hartford’s 2021 Future of Benefits Study, nearly one-third (31%) of employers and 14% of employees say they are looking forward to traveling for business again.
“We know that pre-pandemic, U.S. companies were logging over a million business trips a day,” says Damien Balazs, director of product management for Group Benefits at The Hartford. “Remote work has certainly proved effective for a lot of companies this past year, but many employers are signaling a strong desire to get moving again when safe to do so.”
The pandemic sharpened the focus that employers put on bedrock benefits, like life and disability insurance and on paid leave to care for family and medical needs. Now, the benefits that protect employees off-site while on company business can help play a key part in the country’s safe and cautious comeback from COVID-19.
Safe Travels – Near and Far
Employers of all sizes have a “duty of care” obligation to their employees, which is a responsibility to help safeguard workers no matter where they travel on company business. That is where business travel accident insurance comes into play.
“There is sometimes a misperception that business travel insurance is only for employers who require international travel,” Balazs said. “But in fact, any organization has some form of business travel that can be covered under these policies.”
This travel could include visiting a customer at the local coffee shop, crossing state lines to see a supplier or traveling internationally for business development.
The pandemic has further highlighted the potential risks that traveling employees face on the road. Business travel insurance is designed to help cover situations that arise from both sickness and accidents. When coupled with robust travel assistance programs, it can provide round-the-clock medical and travel support from anywhere in the world. These benefits also supply cash payments for an employee’s family in the event of a tragic death. For most employers, it’s a cost-effective way to round out the overall package of employee benefits and coverages.
“When traveling, your employees may not be under your roof, but they are under your care,” Balazs says. “We’re reminded every day just how volatile the world can be, so their safety is paramount.”
Beyond private business, the public, education and non-profit sectors also are increasing their activities as restrictions across the country ease. People are participating more in recreation, volunteerism, fundraising, celebrations and other activities that were sidelined last year. Some scenarios include a music teacher traveling in a personal car from school-to-school, a parks and recreation worker making a service call at a city park or town officials attending ribbon-cuttings for new businesses.
The world is indeed stirring again. Soon, it may even be loudly buzzing with the familiar and long-awaited cadence of commerce – wherever it is transacted. Protecting those on the move is a big part of getting back to business.