Business trips by employees often represent risks that are underestimated by companies. In event of an accident or illness, the employee has a right to medical treatment at the standard of care available in Austria, and the employer is liable for this. Without proper travel insurance for employees, this can become very expensive.
Most of the roughly 1.1 million Austrian employees who are sent on business trips do not have any, or only insufficient insurance coverage for risks encountered while travelling (source Statistik Austria 2009).
Employers are liable for employees on business trips
One important aspect that is often underestimated by companies is an employer’s liability with respect to his employees. ( Liability analysis in German) Anyone who relies on the Austrian social insurance system to provide full health insurance protection outside of Austria may have an expensive surprise in store. Even within the EU and countries with bilateral social insurance agreements (Turkey and ex-Yugoslavia), this is not true without restrictions. A service is only insured according to the “local standard” that also applies to persons carrying mandatory local coverage. In many European countries, this may also be much lower than the standard of care in Austrian hospitals. However, Austrian legislation grants employees the right to medical treatment that corresponds to the Austrian standard of care. If this cannot be ensured abroad, even by taking advantage of (expensive) private healthcare facilities, a return transport to Austria is required. On business trips, the employee is liable for all costs without limitation. In event of travel by ambulance jet, the costs can easily exceed Euro 100,000, costs that statutory social insurance will definitely not cover.
For services received in public hospitals in countries with which no bilateral health insurance agreements exist (in other words, all countries in the world except for the 27 EU states, Switzerland, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Turkey), Austrian social insurance pays only flat “compensation amounts” between Euro 27 and Euro 84 per day for out-patient treatment and roughly €175 per day for hospital costs of in-patient care. The same rates, which do not cover actual costs, are also paid for services in private hospitals and clinics. The employer must cover the difference between these amounts and the actual costs for the treatment of employees (up to €1,000 per day, even ten times as much in the USA!). Corporate Travel Insurance (CTI) covers the full costs for medical treatment and for return transport to Austria, even if this is not required for medical reasons.
In event of property damage, the employer is largely liable for the personal property of the employee. In contrast to typical travel insurance, the CTI policy also covers articles for business use, from tools (such as a laptop) to trade goods or sample collections. In addition, it also includes a comprehensive “assistance package” for many aspects involving automobiles that are normally excluded from insurance.
Companies require professional crisis management for global travel activities. Our assistance company offers a global infrastructure in all countries of the world, with a physical presence wherever possible.
This is made possible by our partner, Europ Assistance, with its global service network with 39 operations centres and 275 offices in 208 countries and regions for providing rapid and competent help around the clock. Contact is available 24 hours a day in the respective native tongue.
An average claim costs Euro 33,920.-. Companies of all sizes – SMEs in particular – expect protection from major financial burdens (e.g. return transport costs, hospital costs). In the year 2007, the average capital resources of companies with up to 20 employees were Euro 107,473.-, while an average claim amounted to Euro 33,920.-.
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