When people move abroad to live or work in another country, one of the very last things they think about is personal liability insurance. Before we explore why we think this may be the last thing on people's minds, let's examine why international liability insurance is absolutely essential for anyone with an established net worth. This coverage is not just for the rich expatriates on high profile assignments.
International liability insurance would cover claims against the insured or the insured's family related to lawsuit or damage awards due to negligence (the the judge or local magistrate deems you or a family member negligent, whether you were or not!) A lawsuit can happen anywhere, it's not just something that happens in the U.S. or the home country. In many countries it's not a lawsuit as most would picture, but a damage award. Here is what would happen in many countries; You or a family member causes harm or financial loss to a local national in your host country. You are brought before a judge or local magistrate. The judge hears the evidence and orders you to pay the defendant $200,000. No 4 month trial... no appeal... bang. What do you do? Are you carrying global liability insurance? At $5 a month to protect the entire family, why not?
Again, we interview many with the false assumption of "I work for a large multinational company and they must have insurance for me in this area." This is almost never the case. They have no corporate or commercial liability policies that can cover your personal claims.
What happens when someone does not carry international liability insurance, the company has no insurance to assist, and a large damage award needs to be paid? Well, the options are few all all are not good for the career of the expatriate.
- The person does not pay and is either jailed, has items seized, or is forced in some way to leave the country.
- The person pays the entire personal liability claim out of his/her own pocket perhaps writing a $50,000 check.
- The employer is in some way, dragged into the claim either to assist in paying the claim or because the defendant is not carrying any personal liability insurance as an expatriate, the employer's legal entity is named and attached in the lawsuit.
Again, an expatriate that takes the arrogant attitude of "my company would pay it for me" has certainly not even attempted to think through the issues of why this is very unpleasant, if not impossible. Our next post will be about just that.
Labels: damage award, expatriate, global liability, host country, international liability insurance, multinational