Posts Tagged ‘kidnap & ransom coverage’

The new ransom: cyber extortion

October 8, 2015 1 comment

cyber_extortionA cybersecurity issue that many companies fail to prepare for or even consider is cyber extortion, especially distributed denial of service (DDoS) threats involving ransom demands. Such attacks are intended to impede a victim’s capability to conduct business online until the ransom is paid. Hackers have not abandoned traditional data breaches however, these incidents are not as lucrative because the black market for credit card and Social Security data is over saturated. Any company or organization, regardless of size, is at risk and should consider what’s at stake if they are threatened with a cyber extortion claim. Confirmed victims of cyber extortion include everything from police departments to fortune 500 hundred companies. Read more…

Kidnap and ransom policies become necessary as demand figures cracks $1 billion mark

kidnap_ransomCrimes that involve kidnap and ransom have become a lucrative and prosperous practice with the rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East, and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea off the west coast of Africa. The scale of for these crimes can be massive, with media reports estimating global ransom demand figures above $1 billion per year. Crisis response firm Olive Group estimates that there are about 100,000 kidnappings every year, 40 percent of which involve a ransom demand.

Experts claim that most kidnappings go unreported because victims and their families fear retribution, or have been warned not to do so by the authorities or company responsible for securing the release. Chuck Regini, director of global response at crisis response company Unity Resources Group, states that approximately one in 10 kidnappings actually gets reported. He also warned that there has been a noticeable increase in the number of incidents over the past 10 years. In particular, he has seen a rise in kidnappings of foreigners working overseas this year across all business sectors and socioeconomic groups. As a result of this spike, premiums written in this area have risen, and at least 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies now hold Kidnap & Ransom (K&R) policies according to industry estimates. Read more…

ISIS terror is making K&R policies all the more critical

September 23, 2014 Leave a comment

isisThe release of a third video showing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) executing a foreign hostage has ignited global unrest and brought heightened awareness to the growing threat of kidnapping and terrorist activities in the Middle East. In August, American journalist James Foley became the first U.S. national to have been executed since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011. Within two weeks, the militant group publicly killed another U.S. hostage, followed by a third video in which a British national was beheaded. ISIS claimed each execution an act of retribution for the ongoing U.S. airstrikes against the group’s position in Northern Iraq. While debate ensues over the relationship between ransom payments and funding terrorism (the U.S. and U.K. governments currently both have non-payment policies for ransom demands), the risks facing foreign national workers living in these areas of extreme danger continue to mount. Aid workers and media personnel (including journalists) sent to work and report on the conflict in Syria have become primary targets of ISIS. According to data from Reporters without Borders, 65 journalists killed last year while covering stories in country, while an estimated 25 to 40 individuals are currently being held hostage.  Read more…

Top 10 areas for kidnap and ransom incidents

April 11, 2012 1 comment

Kidnap for ransom was once a crime synonymous only with countries like Columbia and the surrounding Latin American region, but kidnap for ransom and extortion has become a worldwide threat plaguing countries around the globe from Iraq and Afghanistan to Yemen, China and India. While inconclusive reports and varying incident classifications make official statistics difficult to obtain, there is no question that kidnap and ransom crimes are on the rise. Reports of kidnapping, hostage-taking, piracy and extortion are turning up more frequently than ever before, affecting victims from both poor and wealthy backgrounds. According to Red24, a leading global security company providing global risk management to employees and companies, there were an estimated 30,000 incidents in 2011. Read more…

Kidnap & Ransom Insurance coverage needed now more than ever

There has been an incredible increase in political and economic unrest which has caused a serious jump in kidnappings worldwide. The targets of these kidnapping has also expanded beyond executives and multinationals, and now includes students and non-profit workers as well. Studies by the State Department report over 20,000 kidnapping for ransom annually worldwide, and 48% of these reported kidnappings take place in Latin America and the Caribbean. The latest hot spots for kidnapping include Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Philippines and Venezuela. Other counties where kidnapping and extortion are on the rise include Haiti, Argentina, South Africa, Nepal and India. The Indian Government acknowledges that in 2009 there were over 700 active kidnap for ransom groups in the country.

If there is a silver lining in all this it is that insurance coverage for these perilous actions are now widely available, via a Kidnap, Ransom and Extortion policy (KRE or K+R). These policies Read more…

Somali pirate attacks increasing and costing more

The risks to ships transiting the pirate-infested waters off the coast of Somalia are on the rise. Last year, the average ransom paid to Somali pirates was $5.4 million compared with $150,000 in 2005. Just last week, Somali pirates captured a U.S.-bound tanker carrying around $200 million worth of crude oil in the Indian Ocean in one of the biggest hijackings in the area to date. The Irene SL, taken along with 25 crew members on board, was carrying 2 million barrels of oil which amounts to one-fifth of daily U.S. crude imports. The hijacking came a day after an Italian tanker carrying oil worth more than $60 million was also taken by Somali pirates.

A report today from Business Insurance outlined the latest hot spots in kidnap & ransom risks, saying that Somali piracy and Mexican kidnapping are on the upswing. Read more…

Ask the Experts: The advantages of a group excess program

December 18, 2009 Leave a comment

A Group Excess Liability program is a master umbrella policy issued to the sponsoring organization or employer that provides additional coverage to participants.