Article March 20, 2019

How to prepare for a kidnap and ransom incident

Kidnap and ransom incidents can be shocking, upsetting and confusing for inexperienced crisis management teams.

If a kidnap and ransom case does affect your business, it’s likely that a member of your team will be tasked with coordinating the response before a qualified response consultant steps in. Its therefore imperative that all businesses have a detailed response plan in place.

We’ve outlined the four stages of a kidnap and ransom event, and the preparations you need to take to ensure that your business can react quickly and efficiently to resolve the crisis and safeguard your employees. Additionally, access to a global, 24/7 crisis response team via kidnap and ransom insurance, could mean the difference between a quick, successful resolution and a more serious incident.

  1. Building your plan Kidnap and ransom insurance is growing in popularity, however would-be crisis management teams still tend to have limited training and experience in handling such cases. The news of an employee being kidnapped will undoubtedly spark panic, so it’s important that team members receive training and are able to answer the necessary questions.

    In order to ensure the safe return of a kidnap victim, it is crucial for a company to have a response plan in place. This plan should include a response consultancy partner with the experience required to ensure the success of negotiations and the logistics of an eventual ransom drop, extraction and repatriation.

    While the life of a kidnapped employee is of paramount importance, companies also need to consider their liability and reputation in case of an incident ending badly. Professional handling of all aspects of a kidnap for ransom incident, from initial response to hostage repatriation, will substantially reduce this liability.

    Some of the key questions that crisis management leaders should be prepared to answer, include:

    Who should be notified in our organisation if a person is reported missing or kidnapped?

    Who will be the company’s core decision makers and key players?

    Does our company have 24/7 access to relevant personal data of hostages?

    Who is responsible for collecting and distributing information?

    Who will manage reputational issues during the crisis?

    Do we have a dedicated working space, phone line and group crisis email address we can use for managing a case?

    What should happen if a kidnapping is reported out of working hours?

    What does our insurance policy instruct us to do and are relevant persons aware?
  2. Receiving the call Receiving notification that a colleague or loved one has been kidnapped will always be a shock. In these situations it is important to brief all possible call-receivers not to negotiate or disclose information. Instead, those receiving the call from kidnappers should pass on the number of the crisis management team, and avoid conversing with kidnappers directly. Doing so can help to avoid potentially traumatic and risky situations.

    If kidnap and ransom insurance is already in place, it will be down to the chosen response company to continue the progression of a resolution. The sooner this company is notified, the sooner they can begin advising.
  3. Negotiations In most kidnap for ransom cases, negotiation is conducted by a trained member of the victim’s organisation. This team member will be coached and guided throughout. The response consultant, in cooperation with the crisis management team, will advise the communicator on a negotiating strategy tailored to the situation, taking into account the expected profile of the kidnappers.
  4. The ransom drop, extraction and repatriation No matter how long a case is expected to last, the logistics of a potential ransom drop and the extraction of hostages should remain a top priority. Contrary to popular belief, a kidnap and ransom insurance provider does not pay a ransom, but will reimburse the insured under the terms of the policy. The insured must therefore have the financial means to pay upfront. It’s also important to keep in mind the little things, which may not be immediately obvious, such as paperwork and vaccinations. This is another area in which response companies can assist.

Protect your business with kidnap and ransom insurance

A kidnap and ransom insurance policy can ensure your business is well prepared for an incident. CFC Underwriting protects business across a wide variety of industries, covering traditional kidnap and ransom cases, cyber extortion and marine piracy.

CFC Underwriting policyholders have access to a range of expert consultants and a global, 24/7 crisis response team, including EOS Risk Group. Take a look at our kidnap and ransom insurance policies to find out more.