ACE USA Reports on Global Security Trends; Kidnap & Extortion

April 25, 2006

ACE USA, the U.S.-based retail operating division of the ACE Group of Companies, has issued a report on global security, which indicates that “threats to multinational businesses and organizations are on the rise, mirroring the scope and complexity of today’s global marketplace itself.” ACE will formally present the study at the RIMS conference in Honolulu on Wednesday, April 26, 2006.

ACE’s white paper entitled, “Managing Kidnapping, Extortion & Other Global Security Risks,” notes that “incidents of kidnap for ransom, hostage taking, ‘war tax’ demands and other extortion tactics, piracy and sabotage are occurring more frequently, and in more locations worldwide, than ever before.”

The bulletin also indicated that the “paper provides insight into the nature of global security risk and the factors that drive it, and examines various types of risks including the dynamics of kidnapping and extortion. Tips for assessing and managing global security risk are also detailed, including the core essentials of a global security risk response plan, considerations for selecting an expert crisis prevention and response consultant, and considerations for selecting a global insurance carrier.”

The report’s author, Jean McDermott-Lucey, VP-ACE International & Specialty Group, noted that the risks aren’t limited to war zones or high-risk regions nor to global companies. “Regardless of size or revenue, any organization can be compromised anywhere, at any time, and organizations that ignore the reality of global security risks do so at considerable cost to their human, physical and financial assets,” she commented.

The best risk management approach, she advised, is to anticipate the occurrence of kidnap, extortion and other global security incidents, and to take proactive measures designed to lessen their likelihood and minimize their impact. Educating employees about what to expect and how to stay safe before they travel is vital to minimizing their kidnapping risk. Restricting or documenting database access can reduce the risk of cyber theft and extortion. Then, if an incident occurs, rapid and expert response on the part of the organization is paramount, she stressed.

“The time to ask questions is before an employee is threatened – who will authorize the ransom payment, and how quickly can it be transferred? Is the organization prepared to react to kidnaps of foreign nationals and expatriates? Does the organization have the specialized expertise that is needed to negotiate with the kidnappers? These are just a few of the questions risk managers must ask when preparing to respond to the very real threat of employee kidnapping,” McDermott-Lucey stressed.

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