Protecting Your Talent in a Blended Business Travel Environment

Protecting Your Talent in a Blended Business Travel Environment

Professionals at The Hartford share insights on how Business Travel Accident (BTA) insurance can provide greater coverage for employees
Contributors
Damien Balazs
Damien Balazs, Director of product management for Group Benefits, The Hartford
Heather Savino, Underwriting Officer and Industry Lead, The Hartford
Heather Savino, Underwriting Officer and Industry Practice Leader, The Hartford
Andrew Zarkowsky
Andrew Zarkowsky, Head of AI Underwriting, The Hartford
Between remote and hybrid work arrangements, companies in a variety of industries are offering employees greater flexibility than ever before. With that flexibility comes greater opportunity for employees to travel – whether for work, leisure, or both. With blended “bleisure" travel on the rise, companies need to consider how — and how well — they protect employees' safety when traveling.
 
“Workers' compensation is critical, but it's not necessarily going to cover employees for everything they do while on a business trip," says Damien Balazs, director of A&H products at The Hartford.
 
Business Travel Accident (BTA) insurance as part of a company's benefits package can provide greater coverage for employees — including non-work-related activities and additional travel within an overall trip. Offering the right BTA insurance benefits can provide employees with more protection and help companies compete for talent.
 

Adapting for Employee Flexibility

In certain industries, like the technology sector, offering remote or hybrid work arrangements is essential to retaining talent. In 2022, 60% of tech professionals surveyed by Dice ranked 100% remote work as their most desired workplace setting (compared to 53% in 2021).
 
Since a full 87% of tech professionals also said that working remotely at least three days per week was important in choosing their next role or organization, the trend toward tech-workplace flexibility is likely to persist in the near future.
 
For years, tech companies have competed to attract and retain employees. But with blended travel on the rise, tech companies need to also protect employees in spaces and scenarios that are outside the companies' control.
 
“Tech companies tend to do what they should to help protect their employees," says Zarkowsky, global technology industry practice lead for Middle and Large Commercial at The Hartford. “BTA really provides an extra layer of protection."
 

Business Travel Accident Insurance Protection on the Go

 
Companies in many different industries are offering greater flexibility than ever before through remote and hybrid work options. This flexibility can be a great incentive for employees, offering the opportunity to travel—whether for work, leisure or both. And while workers' compensation covers injuries sustained on the job, what covers employees who get hurt outside of working hours on a business trip?
Business travel accident (BTA) insurance can help provide the protection that employees need.
See how it works in the example below:
¿Cómo funciona?
business travel accident insurance protects your travels
A tech employee from the U.S. travels to Europe with his spouse for a work conference. They have a list of landmarks to see while they're visiting. However, as they head to the first one, they end up in a car accident which puts them both in the hospital with severe injuries.
bta insurance covers when workers compensation doesn't
Based on the situation and location, neither workers' compensation1 or their group health policies are able to provide coverage for the medical expenses.
bta insurance protects you and your loved ones
However, Business Travel Accident Insurance2 could help cover out of pocket medical costs for the employee and their spouse. Plus, the BTA travel assistance vendor would have monitored their medical situation, provided medical expense payments, while coordinating and paying for any medical evacuation or repatriation needed.
   
1 Varies by state. Certain states may provide coverage for employees that are on work trips internationally.
2 Assumes the inclusion of benefits under the BTA policy for the employees and spouse for out of country medical expense and medical evacuation coverage.
 
 

Covering Employees Across Travel Situations

There are any number of scenarios in which an employee might tack extra days onto a business trip.
 
“Take a 28-year-old programmer in the tech industry who’s flying from the Bay Area to Barcelona for a conference," says Balazs. “The programmer may stay longer than the four days of the conference to do some sightseeing, visit friends, or perhaps even travel to another country while there."
 
If the programmer rents a car during their trip and ends up injured in an accident or contracts a severe respiratory virus, workers' compensation and even their group health insurance policy are not designed to quickly provide emergency support. These are just two examples of what could happen that may not be covered or fully covered by other insurance. However, BTA insurance, with international medical and travel assistance experts available 24/7, combined with benefits for emergency out of country medical situations, can respond rapidly to help the employee.
 
“There are three separate coverage parts to BTA, but one of the biggest pieces is the 24/7 travel and medical assistance," says Heather Savino, underwriting officer and industry practice lead for Middle and Large Commercial at The Hartford. “You have the traditional AD&D and living benefits like medical evacuation, but the 24/7 travel and medical assistance is especially valuable to employees when something goes awry during the course of travel."
 
BTA can provide broad protection for employees if they become ill, injured or concerned for their safety while traveling on business or “blended" trips — whether they're local, interstate or out of the country.
 
On average, BTA includes up to 14 days of non-work travel coverage within an overall business trip. Policies often include coverage for dependents that travel with the employee and address a whole array of risks, including and beyond emergency medical help. BTA can also cover and facilitate emergency evacuations in the event of security, political and natural disaster events, provide coverage for lost baggage and much more. With customizable high limits, in the event of accidental death while traveling, BTA can be the highest payout that the beneficiary receives.
 
BTA can also cover work-from-home and hybrid employees when they travel to the office or any other place on business. As companies recover from the pandemic, this coverage is more relevant than ever as there are plenty of reasons employees might be on the move.
 
“The importance of BTA has increased as many of our clients in the professional, financial and healthcare services spaces have moved to new working models that proved productive through the COVID pandemic," says Savino. “We're seeing more traveling healthcare employees that are based out of their home who travel to a work site that might differ every day.”
 
“With teams of workers spread around the country, or potentially around the globe, the opportunity to gather in person as a team for strategizing and team building now requires more employees to travel," she adds. As a result, company retreats and offsite meetings become more valuable to companies in a remote and hybrid world, though they are not without risks.
 
Ultimately, business and “blended" travel scenarios vary across industries — from professors traveling for speaking engagements to external auditors visiting companies to sales representatives meeting in person with prospects, and many more. Ensuring that people are protected in these scenarios should be a priority for companies. Amid changing travel trends, business travel accident insurance is customizable to company needs and helps them better protect their most important assets: their employees.
 
 
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