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There is a new term trending in business travel and it looks like it is here to stay – “bleisure travel.” Bleisure travel is used to describe business travelers who extend their work trips for leisure purposes. According to a Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) study*, 89% of business travelers say they are likely or moderately likely to extend a work trip for leisure. Seeing the reach of this trend, employers are starting to look at their existing corporate policies and insurance programs to figure out how to keep pace.
Does duty of care play a role in bleisure travel?
Many employers recognize and feel a responsibility to protect their employees when they are placing them in a “risky” situation. It is now even relatively common for a company to proactively assess the risks facing their traveling employees and provide them with corporate policies, insurance benefits and travel services. But what responsibilities does an employer have when an employee extends their trip for pleasure?
When an employee is on a bleisure trip, does duty of care require the employer to respond in the event there is a terrorist incident? What if the employee is hospitalized and needs a guarantee of payment? What if the employee’s spouse is traveling with them and loses their passport? As employers are still working to gain an understanding of this trend, these are real life scenarios they and their employees are being faced with.
Is there an advantage to bleisure travel?
Employers should understand the benefits bleisure travel can bring to all aspects of their business. If a company is looking to attract top talent, supporting bleisure trips and providing assistance to participating employees can be a great differentiator. For an existing workforce, bleisure trips can lead to higher employee retention rates by creating a better work-life balance for traveling employees. Bleisure travel is also thought to make employees more efficient. When traveling employees have limited time, they maximize it by working harder, faster and smarter – instead of procrastinating. All of this can translate into cost savings for a business.
How can employers start capitalizing on this trend?
The first step towards doing this is by formalizing bleisure travel policies. These policies will often detail the company’s rules around flights, hotels and transportation, cost sharing and cross subsidization, accompanying family or friends, and high-risk activity. Once these policies are in place, it is then important that organizations evaluate their travel risk management program. This should take into account the primary risks faced by travelers and the coverages that need to be in place to respond – usually a combination of insurance benefits and travel services. Most programs look to address accidents, sicknesses, political and natural disasters, trip inconveniences, kidnappings, and personal property.
Bleisure travel is ultimately a win-win for employers and employees. By providing guidance and extending protection to employees taking bleisure trips, companies can safeguard their greatest assets, address issues before they arise, and reap the financial benefits of their support.
Joseph Weiss is Vice President, Accident & Health, North America.
*Global Business Travel Association (GBTA): “Extending Business Travel into Leisure Time – Bleisure Travel” http://www3.gbta.org/l/5572/2017-06-02/55l1xn
The opinions and positions expressed are the authors’ own and not those of Chubb. The information and/ or data provided herein is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Insurance coverage is subject to the language of the policies as issued.