Health providers and insurers partner with security firms

Air EvacuationPolitical turmoil in the Middle East and natural disasters in Japan have shown the wisdom in adding emergency evacuation clauses to expatriate insurance plans, notes The Telegraph. The challenging nature of emergency evacuations has in turn led both medical assistance firms and insurance companies to team with private security contractors.

Three years ago the UK’s InterGlobal partnered with security firm red24, which has since evacuated policyholders in Libya, Yemen and Japan.

Medical assistance company International SOS and security firm Control Risks provide services similar to those offered by red24. Together they boast some 8,000 employees, including 970 doctors and 200 security specialists. Their coverage extends across more than 70 countries and includes 32 clinics in remote areas.  International SOS provides emergency services for Bupa International and a number of other UK-based insurers.

Beginning in February, the company evacuated more than 1,500 expatriates from Libya. Just weeks earlier it had brought another 1,250 out of Egypt.

Lately, firms specializing in emergency evacuations have earned far more than the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes with keeping expats safe – they’ve also been raking in plenty of cash. International SOS’ head of security operations, Scott Gilbert, described his company as “highly profitable.” InterGlobal, too, claimed it has attracted new customers through its exclusive partnership with red24.

Ongoing unrest in the Middle East and the ever-present risk of natural disaster could make such partnerships a fixture in the expatriate insurance industry, particularly if they continue to rake in tidy profits.