Michael Blease-Shepley, a businessman from the United Kingdom, was traveling for work in Nigeria when he suddenly faced a life-threatening security situation and became trapped. He made an SOS call for help.

“The next thing I knew, Global Rescue deployed a private, armed security team to transport me to the airport for a repatriation flight,” he said. “The whole team kept me settled, calm and informed. I was surrounded by several armed guards the entire time. I’m used to armed security details, but this was a bit more firepower than I’d seen before.”

He made it home safely.

While Blease-Shepley’s story seems extraordinary for most travelers, it highlights the challenges businesses face to ensure the safety, security and well-being of their traveling workforce in all kinds of situations. Many facilitators of business travel think that they’re well-prepared for any situation that may arise during work trips. And in limited circumstances that’s probably true. The travel landscape, however, has changed dramatically. Unexpected events, whether mundane or extreme, are occurring with greater frequency. How business leaders fulfill their duty of care obligations to their traveling workforce is a matter of health and safety preservation imperatives, but of fiscal savings, too.

Blease-Shepley’s extraction and repatriation were made possible by his company’s investment in a Global Rescue membership for all of its traveling employees. Without it, the costs would have been exorbitant.

But it’s not all about security operations. The most frequently used benefits of a Global Rescue membership are on the medical side, which can save your company substantial money. Consider these two benefits alone: Field rescues and medical evacuations, which can cost upwards of $300,000. For Global Rescue members, the cost is $0, with no deductibles, claims or co-pays.


[Related Reading: Pay $300K. Or Pay Nothing. You Choose.]  


Those services are just the tip of the iceberg. Membership services help a workforce or a student body travel with peace of mind, no matter where your business or studies take you, or whether you’re working or have some free time.

Three smiling business travelers at the airport.

Emergencies can happen on the job, of course, but it’s the time employees are not on the clock that is arguably the greatest risk to their safety. Scooter crashes while not wearing a helmet during a sight-seeing trip after arriving a day early for work. A rental car crash trying to navigate unfamiliar traffic patterns while driving back to the hotel. A broken ankle during a pre-work morning run. It’s inevitable that your employees will be out and about while traveling for work. And so, too, is the avalanche of paperwork, logistics coordination and expenses you’ll face if you don’t have a Global Rescue membership. If your company does have a Global Rescue membership, we handle all of those components for you, ensuring your employees’ safety and care, and helping you fulfill your duty of care obligation should an emergency happen.

And if emergency rescues, medical evacuations and security extractions aren’t required, there are still all kinds of ways a membership with Global Rescue benefits your team. Maybe an employee needs medical advisory (what to do when experiencing significant gastrointestinal “distress” while overseas, for example), or needs help recovering a lost passport or replacing a forgotten prescription. Or maybe you want to keep your employees up-to-date on events that could affect their travel, like weather or natural disasters, or security threats and civil unrest. Global Rescue has solutions for all of these scenarios, helping to keep your workforce safe and secure, and ensuring you’re saving your business time, stress and money.

Adapting to a New, Itinerant Way To Work

Company leaders like CEOs, chief security officers, travel managers and human resources directors are accountable for the development and oversight of policies, programs and logistics that protect traveling staff. They carry a duty of care obligation for their people, to take every reasonable precaution to protect them and avoid exposing them to any unnecessary or undue risk. But that’s easier said than done when you think about how much the way we work has changed. Many people work remotely, untethered to an office. Employers have been challenged to adapt their responsibilities to this new nature of work, a challenge that can be costly if done inefficiently.

So where do duty of care responsibilities begin and end for people who travel for work and the companies that employ them? What about bleisure travelers, students and hybrid or remote workers?

Dave Leopold, director of enterprise sales for Global Rescue, helps his clients navigate this new landscape on a daily basis. He identifies several key facts that challenge businesses, NGOs and educational institutions when it comes to duty of care:

  • Companies, travel operators, governments, and educational institutions have a duty of care to protect their traveling workforce and remote workers.
  • Duty of care means acting and responding as a reasonably prudent person or company should act and respond under the circumstances. However, what might be reasonable for travel to Miami might not be the same as reasonable for travel to Dubai, for example.
  • Employees have higher expectations for duty of care than ever before. They are relying on employers to take care of them if they get sick or injured during travel.
  • Overseas injuries and illnesses can result in substantial economic and reputational harm to a company. Just look at Lucent Technologies/AT&T, who faced a duty of care lawsuit following the death of an employee in Saudi Arabia.
  • Colleges and universities are also at risk when it comes to duty of care. In one case, a federal court awarded $41.5 million to a student who contracted encephalitis on a school-sponsored trip to China.

The Real Cost of a Global Rescue Membership

Not only can a Global Rescue membership mitigate these challenges, but its effects translate into real cost savings to your business.

Take bleisure travel, for example. It’s business travelers adding leisure days onto a work-related trip, and it’s become an expectation among employees who travel for work. But offering bleisure is not simply a matter of writing it into company policy. It demands a new approach to duty of care.

“Duty of care today is different than duty of care pre-pandemic,” said Jeffrey Ment, managing partner of The Ment Law Group and a Global Rescue advisor. “Duty of care has to evolve with the times, and the old plans aren’t good enough anymore. New plans have to happen because the world has changed.”

What’s more, employee safety is no longer isolated to work-only situations. Your employees’ safety should be important to you whether they’re on business travel, bleisure travel or vacation,” Leopold said. “If something happens while they’re traveling, it has a negative impact on your business as well.”


[Related Reading: Will Bleisure Travel Save the Future of Business Travel?]


The savings companies will see by incorporating a bleisure policy is a long game. By creating a bleisure travel policy, you help foster a more satisfied workforce, particularly those who are willing to travel for those crucial business meetings overseas. More satisfaction means lower churn, and therefore less money and resources spent on hiring new team members. It also makes your business a more appealing place to work.

Intelligence Delivery for Employee Peace of Mind

Every corporate security officer or human resources director wants to help alleviate security risks for their employees so they can focus on the business task at hand while traveling for work. But managing the international movements of senior executives, analysts, engineers and other employees, on top of keeping them informed about changing threats from one place to another, would be resource-intensive and expensive to the point of impossible.

But with Global Rescue’s Intelligence Delivery system (or GRIDSM), we make it easier for your internal security team to track and monitor the safety of your employees and workers.

People working around a laptop on a table.

“If a company didn’t have a Global Rescue membership, they’d have to expend tremendous internal resources to attempt to fulfill their duty of care obligation,” Leopold said. “Just our travel alerts alone equate to a vast amount of time someone would have to spend researching on their own. A challenge that a Global Rescue member faces could be resolved in a 20-minute phone call compared to the research you’d have to do if you didn’t have the support.”

Travelers using the GRID system can research medical and security risks by destination, obtain automatic Destination Reports, receive active security alerts including analysis and advice, connect for GPS “check-ins” with real time location tracking, and stay in touch with in-app communications both internally and with Global Rescue.

Administrators managing the GRID system receive comprehensive situational awareness of global risks 24/7/365, monitor real time global threats and analysis with Event Alerts, audit a dynamic global risk map to identify regions of increased risk, and manage communications using the in-app messaging that allows direct contact with individual or group GRID Mobile App users.

And then there’s the benefit of field rescue and medical evacuation services only a phone call away.

“The majority of trips take place with no issues at all, but if you become injured or sick while traveling abroad, having Global Rescue in your corner is an absolute game changer,” said Jim Klug, CEO of Yellow Dog Flyfishing.

“Our company has been involved in numerous medical and evacuation situations over the years, including my own personal experience with a severe head injury while fishing a remote jungle river in Bolivia,” he said. “Without Global Rescue, I have no doubt my evacuation and medical flight bills would have cost me tens of thousands of dollars. More importantly, they evacuated me quickly and effectively, which led to immediate treatment and full recovery. I never leave home without my Global Rescue membership.

From whichever way you look at it, a Global Rescue membership not only enhances your ability to fulfill your duty of care, it empowers your entire human capital management team – from human resources to security – to be the superheroes your workforce expects you to be when there’s trouble. And therein lies the real savings.