Kidnap and Ransom, two of the most intimidating words on the minds of successful corporate executives, people of high net worth and celebrities. Most often the hostage takers release prisoners if a ransom is paid, however, sometimes they do not.
The objective in most kidnappings is to get paid. Demand no involvement of legal (law enforcement) authorities, insurance company or anyone else to be notified.
The demands of the kidnappers can be troublesome on how to decide whether or not to contact them. In the eyes of the insurance companies, if you do not contact them immediately them may attempt deny coverage. The other is that if you do contact law enforcement, you may be putting your family or employee at risk of threatened death. Keep in mind; most kidnappings do not result in death, that is not their model, rather to get paid. They result in the payment of a negotiated ransom in exchange for the safety and immediate release.
Consider these statistics:
- 1 child will be kidnapped or go missing every 40 seconds in the United States alone (2000 per day).
- Over 18% of these will be in the care of a nanny or equivalent.
- Approx. 82 people will be kidnapped today (30,000 per year) around the world.
- In 2009, there were 1200 kidnappings for ransom in Mexico.
- In 2013
- The top 3 countries for kidnappings are Venezuela, Philippines and Mexico.
- The average ransom demand is over $1 million.
A few, not all recorded 2013 Events:
- China, 01/03/13, Family kidnap and murder
- Pakistan, 05/03/13, Senior politician taken
- Libya, 07/03/13 – Tripoli airport incident
- Egypt, 08/03/13 – Exxon employee taken
- Nigeria, 11/03/13 – Hostages executed
- Syria, 12/03/13 – Ukrainian escaped
- Ukraine, 13/03/13 – British released
- Russia, 15/03/13 – Classroom siege
- Zimbabwe, 18/03/13 – Gov minster
- Mali, 20/03/13 – French execution claim
- Guatemala, 20/03/13 –Village elders
- Venezuela, 22/03/13– Taxi drive freed
Who Gets a Cut of the Ransom?
If we were to take the lessons learned from the pirating world and apply these to the corporate and family sector, you will find regardless if a organized criminal syndicate or a smaller group they are after a negotiated ransom of a human being, not the cargo or other assets non-human assets. The same objectives are used when targeting the high net worth corporate and family for a negotiated ransom.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) unit, Interpol and the World Bank conducted a study and issued a report on November 1, 2013 called “Pirate Trails”. The study tracked the flow of ransom money paid out to Somali pirates operating in the Indian Ocean and how this money fueled a wide range of criminal activities on a global scale. The report assessed how the ransom proceeds are moved, invested and used and calls for coordination and action on an international level action to address the issue. Some of the results of that report are as follows:
- Pirate financiers, also called “money kingpins,” earned about 30% to 50% of the total ransom paid.
- Low level pirates, mostly foot soldiers sent to the high seas to do the dirty work, earn between $30,000 and $75,000 a vessel.
- Pirates who board the vessel first or use their own weapons in an operation get a bonus $10,000.
- Pirates in Somali areas controlled by the Al-Shabaab pay a development tax to access the ports.
- And those who refuse to follow orders, mistreat the crew or fall asleep on the job get fined.
If you are traveling international and have K&R in the back of your mind and do not have any preventative measures in place, consider the below:
All eight regions have had an increase in incidents in 2013. Africa was the highest being followed by central Asia. The trend that is most concerning is the increase in high profile executions took place in the Sahel and Maghred regions of Africa. The primary resolution utilizing law enforcement and military direct actions did in fact prove to be successful. The main concern is that the increase in the number of hostages resulted in death.
The business traveler has a greater risk. Nine countries in 2013 identified kidnap incidents involving foreign nationals and the danger to business travelers.
Consider Kidnap and Ransom Insurance:
Corporate K&R (Kidnap and Ransom) insurance policies can provide peace of mind and a valuable service and guidance to a potential crisis.
K&R policies may or may not cover:
- A K&R crisis response team and professional advice.
- Medical expenses, including psychiatric expenses and expenses for rest and relaxation and cosmetic or plastic surgery after release.
- Loss due to injury (mutilation, loss of fingers, total disability as a result of a kidnapping, extortion or detention).
- Time away from work after release.
- Travel expenses.
- The cost of hiring and training new or temporary employees.
- A reward paid to informants leading to the arrest and conviction of responsible parties.
For CEO’s and their families who can start to grasp the complexities of kidnap and ransoms, the key is prevention. Yes, you may have the policies, yes, you may have the readily available cash to pay for the exchange, however, statistics show, that these criminals go after targets of opportunity in the corporate world. In other words they are going to travel the path of least resistance. Most likely, they are going to think twice and most often rule out targeting an international individual or family that has protection services in place for their travels and also their families back home over one who does not.
ATAC Global Concierge service provides this peace of mind so you can stay focused on your business with an un-interrupted lifestyle.