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ARC: HOW COMPANIES CAN PROTECT THEIR EMPLOYEES OVERSEAS AND MINIMIZE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TRAVEL R

Mapping app helps risk managers track business travel risks

Mapping App For Travel Risks

Keeping track of teams of business travelers on a global scale is a challenge for risk managers.

Last week, the Aon Risk Solutions unit of London-based Aon P.L.C. unveiled an interactive map application intended for mobile devices that will help keep risk managers abreast of how weather, terrorism and natural disasters threaten remote workers. Known as Aon WorldAware GeoAlert Map, the application augments Aon's travel risk management platform, Aon World-Aware Solutions.

The mapping app, available for Apple iOS and Android and Blackberry devices, displays the locations and profiles of all the travelers the client has stored in the risk management platform against a wealth of data derived from some 120 external data sources. For example, if there is an incident such as a flood or fire close to a location where a company either has an office or has sent an employee or group of employees, GeoAlert Map will automatically draw an exclusion zone around the area.

My colleague, Business Insurance Senior Editor Sarah Veysey, viewed a demo of the app last week at an industry event in London. Benjamin Hancock, a director in Aon Risk Solutions broker and crisis management division in London, told Ms. Veysey that one of the app's primary attributes is the fact that it curates data from a wide variety of sources and then integrates information in a concise manner. This curation helps users avoid being bombarded with constant updates about incidents that may not be relevant to them, Mr. Hancock said.

Also noteworthy is what the app does not do. To allay employee privacy concerns, the app does not use GPS to track employees but rather overlays mapping data against employee travel itineraries.

Nonetheless, the tool is intended to be used by employees and risk managers alike. For example, if an employee is caught up in an event such as a riot, he or she can send a photo message via GeoAlert Map to give co-workers more information about the event.

“This is built to be focused for the business traveler,” Mr. Hancock said.

Moreover, to afford users an additional level of protection, GeoAlert Map enables users to contact one of Aon's two 24/7 Crisis Operations Center for help. Staffed mainly by ex-military personnel, the 24-hour incident response centers are located in Chicago and Johannesburg, South Africa.

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