The American Government regularly issues a US State Department’s travel warning list, a list which life insurance companies and brokers use in order to work out the level of life insurance premiums they should offer to people working in these areas – or, indeed – whether or not they are willing to offer them life coverage at all.
Examples of countries on the list are: Somalia, Iraq and Haiti. In these countries, workers, including those volunteering in the aftermath of disasters and those working for construction companies, are likely to struggle to get life insurance. In Somalia crew members or divers who are there in order to profiteer are very unlikely to obtain life insurance.
Whether working for aid organizations, construction companies or adventuring in Somalia, the one thing all these employees have in common is that life insurance is a headache to find either for themselves or by employers on their behalf.
Aid workers Struggle to get Life Insurance
According to Ryan Pinney of Pinney Insurance Center, California “The more unstable and dangerous a country is and the more likely something bad will happen, the less likely you are to get insurance, not even from Lloyds of London which provides specialty insurance if you can pay the price”.
Members of the Red Cross and Peace Corps have to find life insurance for themselves because, as Pinney states “neither agency provides it for their volunteers” and, it could cost “24 to 50 per cent more for a policy because of the danger.”
31 Countries are Considered ‘Unstable’
According to the State Department’s web site a travel warning is issued when “long term protracted conditions make a country dangerous or unstable” and thereby “lead the State Department to recommend that Americans avoid or consider the risk of travel to that country.”
There are currently 31 countries on the list and reasons for being on the list vary from war to physical instability to terrorism or to the type of rebel violence recently witnessed in Mexico. People travelling to, or working in these countries face a daily high risk of being kidnapped, injured or killed and life insurance companies can feel that the costs of insuring anyone working in these conditions is prohibitive .
Government provides Life Insurance for the Military
The military obtain life insurance through the US government and many private insurance companies are willing to insure servicemen too, but the majority of life insurance companies will not provide insurance for contractors or volunteers working in war zones.
photo credit: timsnell