Skip to content

A Look at What Modern Kidnap & Ransom Policies Should Cover

Written by Ryan Byrd on

No one likes to consider that they or a loved one could be the victim of a kidnap or ransom (K&R) incident. But for certain individuals, the possibility is real. Criminals target people who are very high net worth, regularly in the news, or otherwise high profile, both in the US and abroad. And anyone who works for an international nonprofit, non-governmental organization (NGO), or government contractor and travels to high-risk regions could be the target of a kidnap and ransom attempt.

Combining Insurance and Best Practices

The best way to protect against a kidnap or ransom event is to couple a modern kidnap and ransom policy with proactive measures that can reduce your risk of these incidents. When it comes to securing personal coverage, steps like the following can help.

  • Look for broad coverage. Besides kidnapping and ransom demands, these policies often cover events like extortion, hijacking, active shooter incidents, disappearances, and emergency political evacuation. Along with reimbursing ransom payments made, a K&R policy will likely cover investigation expenses and negotiation consultant expenses. 
  • Add express kidnapping coverage. In recent years it’s become more common for criminals to target tourists traveling abroad, in search of a quick financial gain—a tactic called express kidnapping. They force the person into a vehicle, take them to the nearest ATM, and demand that they withdraw the maximum amount they can on every credit or debit card they’re carrying. Then the kidnapper lets the individual go free, usually unharmed. While express kidnapping coverage was difficult to find in the past, now most modern kidnap and ransom policies cover this type of incident, either in the main policy contract or as an optional endorsement. 
  • Confirm if the policy covers abduction. Some policies also cover child abduction, including the cost of medical bills, rehabilitation, parents’ lost salaries, and other related expenses. This coverage is often available as an endorsement on a personal or business kidnap and ransom policy. 
  • Check which family members are covered. It’s important to confirm which family members are covered under the policy’s named insured clause. Most personal K&R policies automatically cover you and your spouse; then the named insured clause will itemize other family members, such as children, grandchildren, or others. The broader the named insured language, the better.  
  • Work with a preferred consultation company. It's critical to ensure the policy provides access to the services of a preferred consultation company in the event of a kidnap or ransom event, since that’s one of the most valuable benefits of this type of policy. A consultation company that specializes in these crimes will be staffed with experts in negotiation, who know the local customs and traditions of high-risk regions and speak the local language. In such a high-stakes situation, it’s invaluable to partner with an insurer that understands the importance of skilled consultants who can bring the situation to a positive resolution. 
  • Partner with a security company. To complement a kidnap and ransom policy, it’s essential to work with a security company that provides proactive services to reduce your risk. An experienced security vendor will evaluate your physical risks, recommend additional security features in your home or while traveling, and even assess your digital footprint to determine if it increases your odds of being targeted by a kidnapper 
  • Add cybersecurity coverage. If you need a K&R policy then you certainly need a cybersecurity policy, along with measures that reduce your cyber risk. The more information a criminal can access about you and your habits online, the greater your risk of a physical kidnapping. Obtaining cybersecurity insurance and taking steps to mitigate your cyber risk can help reduce the odds of an incident happening in the physical world. 
  • Don’t tell anyone about the policy, other than your spouse. The fewer people who know about this coverage, the lower the odds you’ll be targeted.

With the concept of AI-enabled virtual kidnapping in the news, you might be wondering if a K&R policy will cover this type of incident. In a virtual kidnapping, a criminal uses AI to create a “deep fake” of a person’s voice, then contacts a loved one claiming to have kidnapped them and demanding a ransom. The deep fake is meant to convince the individual that the kidnapping is real, preying on their emotions. Though it’s possible a carrier might cover this form of kidnapping, it’s best to check with your independent insurance advisor about your specific policy details.

Businesses Need K&R Coverage, Too

If you lead an organization that requires employees to travel internationally, it is equally vital to purchase a business kidnap and ransom policy. Hostile incidents are increasingly common, especially in some regions, and they can result in significant damages for the organization and the affected individual.  

In addition to your employees, a corporate K&R policy might provide coverage for your directors and independent contractors. And aside from protecting those who travel on your behalf, these policies typically cover active shooter incidents, including the cost of medical bills and emotional counseling.

Trust B. F. Saul Insurance for K&R Coverage

The personal and business insurance specialists at B. F. Saul Insurance can recommend the right coverage to protect you or your employees from a kidnap or ransom incident. As an independent insurance advisor, we take an objective approach to assessing your needs and have access to a broader insurance market than you can tap into on your own. We gain a deep understanding of your insurance and risk management needs, contact the best-fit insurers, evaluate and negotiate the options, and help you obtain the right coverage for your situation.

Contact us to learn how we can protect you, your family, or your business from your most likely exposures.  

Download This Blog as a PDF
Related Resources

Download "The State of the Personal Insurance Market" Whitepaper

About The Author

Ryan Byrd is an Account Executive on the Personal Lines team at B. F. Saul Insurance with nine years of experience, both on the carrier and agency side. He specializes in high-net-worth insurance, builder’s risk, liability, and cyber coverage.

LinkedIn | Full Bio

Any advice, information, data, communication, proposal and/or document transmitted to you in or in connection with this blog (including, without limitation, any past or future written or oral communications in connection with this blog or its subject matter, and any replies to or forwarded messages in connection with this blog) (collectively, this “Communication”) shall not be deemed legal advice and are not a substitute for the guidance of your legal, tax, financial or other professional advisors. The information contained in this Communication is based on the information made known to B.F. Saul Insurance, Inc. (“BFSI”), at the time this Communication is transmitted to you. If any of the information provided to or relied on by BFSI is inaccurate or changes before insurance coverage is bound then the terms and conditions, premiums, or even availability of such coverage may be subject to change. This Communication does not constitute a contract for insurance and, the terms and conditions of any current or future policy(ies) of insurance shall supersede and prevail over this Communication. This Communication and any information disclosed to you in connection with this Communication at any time (whether orally or in writing) are provided to you in confidence, are the proprietary and confidential information of BFSI, and shall not be disclosed to any third party (except to legal, tax, financial or other professional advisors for the sole purpose of enabling and only to the extent necessary to enable them to provide their services to you in such capacity(ies)), reproduced or used for any other purpose without the express written consent of BFSI.

All requests to place, change or terminate coverage must be confirmed in writing and are subject to the terms and conditions of your insurance policy(ies). Coverage shall not be considered and cannot be bound, changed or terminated unless you have received written confirmation of such from a licensed agent pursuant to the terms and conditions of your insurance policy(ies).