Hurricane “Florence” hit the US East Coast on September 14, 2018. On the way across the Atlantic it had reached the category 4. Experts had feared that it would even hit the coast in the highest category 5, which would have led to the most devastating destruction in decades. Memories of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 were awakened.

In several states, the governors called out the state of emergency. The authorities called on up to 1.7 million people to move to safety. U.S. Navy evacuated dozens of ships from their naval bases in Norfolk and Little Creek in Virginia.

Fortunately, the hurricane ultimately “only” reached the coast as a Category 1 storm, but nevertheless caused massive flooding, destruction and dozens of deaths.

The 10 cities with the highest risk of storms

1 Pearl River Delta (CHN)
2 Osaka-Kobe (JPN)
3 Mumbai (IND)
4 Tokyo-Yokohama (JPN)
5 Amsterdam Rotterdam (NDL)
6 Nagoya (JPN)
7 Shanghai (CHN)
8 Kolkata (IND)
9 Ho Chi Minh (VNM)
10 New York-Newark (USA)

Source: SwissRe study “Mind the risk”

Along the US East Coast with metropolitan areas such as New York but also the slightly inland capital Washington is at high risk for Atlantic cyclones. Nevertheless, these metropolises are among the most important destinations for business travellers and expatriates in the United States.

Companies and organizations have a legal duty of care to protect their employees. Especially on business trips and during overseas assignments companies do have a special responsibility for the health and well-being of their employees. What measures should companies take to protect their employees in the event of a threatening hurricane?

Duty of care = obligation to create working conditions that protect employees from risks to life and health.

Business travellers and expats should be looked after and supported in the same way as part of their travel or deployment. The reference to the travel advices and warnings e.g. of the Foreign Office, are not sufficient here.

How do I protect my employees from a natural disaster, such as a hurricane? The solution is a robust Mobility Risk Management System.

Prior to travel

Mobility Risk Management starts even before the trip! Professional country information databases provide comprehensive information on security and medical risks for the destination. Detailed, up-to-date information on the risks of natural disasters should be available as well as comprehensive recommendations on how to prepare for and behave during a hurricane, at best in multiple languages, easily accessible and understandable.

X-ASSIST Risk Map (storms)

X-ASSIST monitors all your travellers, expats and locations worldwide, automatically, around the clock, and according to your specific requirements. Prior to travel X-ASSIST provides global country and city risk analysis, risk maps, incident reporting, and automatic dispatch of pre-trip information.

The registration of planned trips or even better the automatic transmission of travel booking data to corresponding Mobility Risk Management Systems also allow the automatic dispatch of country information to travellers. Not only can employers ensure that employees receive the relevant information and recommendations, but also have the documentation of the fulfilment of their duty of care.

During the travel

Threatens a hurricane during a trip, it is important to inform employees and warn as soon as possible. The most important question is: “Do we have staff in the endangered areas?”

Professional Mobility Risk Management Platforms offer “Traveller Tracking” – the ability to locate and contact travellers worldwide. At best, such a system automatically detects which employees could be affected by, for example a hurricane and warns them of the imminent danger. The goal should be the sending of relevant information and appropriate recommendations to the affected employees and management in real time.

X-ASSIST automatically identifies whether an incident has an impact on your travellers, expatriates of sites, communicates directly with the affected person and informs you about the status of your respective employees – worldwide, around the clock and in real time.

When the storm comes closer and a direct threat to employees can no longer be ruled out, the most important question is: “Are our employees affected and if so, do they need help?”

Now it is no longer enough just to warn, but to avert an immediate threat or even to mitigate the consequences of the threat of the storm.

Advanced mobility Risk Management Systems automatically detect which employees might be directly affected by an incident. They communicate via telephone, SMS and e-mail directly to the deployed staff, clarify their status and, if necessary, immediately initiate support measures. The company’s management is being updated on the latest developments at the same time.

In case of emergency

Should one of your employees be in distress as a result of a hurricane, for example by flooding, appropriate measures must be taken as soon as possible to protect the employee.

With X-ASSIST the EXOP 24/7-Assistance is at your disposal. Alternatively, you can also integrate your own in-house capacity, existing vendors, or trusted crisis consultants into X-ASSIST.

Professional Mobility Risk Management Solutions offer special 24/7 assistance centres that initiate and coordinate operational support quickly through global network partners. Thus, you can ensure the best support for employees in distress.

Fulfilment of the duty of care

Protecting employees worldwide from natural disasters requires a comprehensive Mobility Risk Management Solution. The technological possibilities nowadays allow a comprehensive risk management, which includes much more than just a 24/7 emergency hotline.

Here, it depends on the sensible combination of preventive, accompanying proactive and reactive measures. The highest possible degree of automation in caring for travellers worldwide and around the clock enables quick and targeted support before, during and after travels. In this way, it is also possible for small and medium-sized enterprises to comply with their duty of care in an appropriate manner.

X-ASSIST a Mobility Risk Management Platform that automatically compares security-related incidents with the locations of your travellers, expatriates and worldwide locations, in real time and according to your specific requirements, in order to inform, advise and directly support them in the event of a crisis. In this way, you fulfil your duty of care with minimal effort and reduce the risks for your employees and locations to a considerable extent.

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