Kidnap & Ransom Insurance: In Case You’re Ever Around Somali Pirates

The average person walking the streets of America today will likely not run into any Somali pirates or otherwise unsavory characters intent on kidnapping them and demanding a ransom. But it does happen, especially in certain high-risk occupations involved in work overseas. As such, kidnap and ransom insurance (or K&R, as the cool kids call it) is on the rise at many companies.

Business is apparently booming in the past few years for K&R providers, reports The Economist, and yes, a lot of that was due to Somali piracy. That certain chunk of the industry generated about $200 million in annual premiums at its highest in 2010. Of course, this is all because of the unfortunate business of getting kidnapped.

Now that it’s a more prevalent occurrence — or at least, there are more high-profile cases — most big companies are adding in K&R coverage for their staff.

So what all is included in the coverage? Usually ransoms, money to pay for hiring consultants and negotiators, lost earnings (due that whole being kidnapped thing) and other costs that may crop up.

Turns out Somali piracy is on the wane right now, but there are new areas in need of coverage. Something called “express” kidnappings in Latin America are on the uptick, which involve  much quicker kidnapping, shorter periods of detention and smaller ransoms.

An added value some firms are peddling things like training clients to decrease the likelihood of getting kidnapped, which can mean premiums are lower. Kind of like a best practices aimed at kidnap prevention. That’s something we can all agree on is a good idea. First step is probably something like, “Don’t talk to strangers.”

Being prepared is even more necessary in the high-tech world of today — there’s all that information out there on social networks for potential kidnappers to cull and better choose their targets. Yet another reason not to broadcast your every waking moment from toothbrush to evening commute. You never know who’s paying attention.

I’m a client… Get me out of here [The Economist]