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Kidnap and ransom - a real risk

Kidnap and ransom - a real risk

Kidnap and ransom are terms you might associate with action movies and crime novels, but in many parts of the world the risks are real.

For what was once a mainly political crime, the profile of kidnapping has changed over the decades.  Last year between 5,000 and 7,000 'express kidnappings' took place in Mexico alone.

Whilst a traditional kidnapping would require a ransom from a third party, express kidnappings are akin to street muggings, with the perpetrator holding on to their victim until the victim themselves has met with the required demands.  This could be the release of cash from an ATM or a hotel room.

Central and South America are hotspots for crimes like these and it is essential for insurers and brokers to know what types of crimes are common in each country.  Tracie Thompson, who heads the kidnap and ransom unit of leading insurer Chartis said, "Countries like Nigeria, Mexico and Pakistan, where kidnapping occurs and is continuing to increase, are of concern; additionally, the types of kidnaps in each of these countries can differ greatly in duration, targeted victims and outcomes."

To protect multinational clients and their families, Chartis provides cover for kidnapping.  They also provide cover for extortion, which could be a cyber threat that involves hacking into computers to steal confidential data with the aim of releasing it online unless a ransom is paid.

Whilst rarely advertised, threats like these, along with disappearance, hostage crisis, threat, wrongful detention and hijacking are an increasing issue for many multinational organisations and individual travellers.  Providing cover for such eventualities means the risk profession has an important role to play in the protection of people across the world.

To watch someone who has worked in a kidnap and ransom team as part of a graduate programme watch Katie Underwood's vidcast here.

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