GBTA Risk Committee Chair Reflects on Paris Attacks and Crisis Preparation

The following is a guest blog post from the chair of our Risk Committee. Erin reflects on the Paris attacks and the understanding that travel security risks exist everywhere and that anything can happen anywhere in the world at any time. You will also find more links below her post to resources created by the GBTA Risk Committee and already available to Members in the GBTA Hub.

The Importance of Travel Risk Management
By Erin L. Wilk
Senior Vice President, Global Travel Safety Program Manager for Bank of America

I currently have the privilege of serving as Chair of the GBTA Risk Committee. On Friday, November 13, I was headed to the airport to depart for a business trip. When my phone rang and I was briefed by my team who sits in London in regard to what had just transpired in Paris, I knew we were in for a long weekend. We immediately activated our traveler accounting and crisis response and reporting processes and I was reminded how quickly the world that we live in, which is not always kind, can change.

Events like this are a grim reminder that travel security risks exist everywhere and that anything can happen anywhere in the world at any time. Mali was another reminder today. Many of you have heard me share in GBTA webinars or convention education sessions that, “if it has not happened to you yet, it will.” An incident like this highlights the importance of critical travel risk management components – traveler tracking, medical and security assistance services that can be deployed if needed and clear and concise communication streams with your travelers. With the right tools and processes in place, a crisis management plan can be executed quickly; if unprepared or unpracticed, the lack of planning and preparation can absolutely impact your ability to adequately take care of your companies’ assets, operations, employees and travelers. If you had a plan in place, you were most likely grateful for it last Friday. If you did not have a plan, my charge to you is to do the diligence necessary to get one in place and to know how to use it. The reality of the world we live in is that something like this will happen again. While the details, the location and the particulars may be different, the need to respond quickly and efficiently will remain the same.

I have just spent the past few days in Washington, D.C. at the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) annual briefing at the U.S. State Department, where Paris was discussed at great length and these points were driven home. In his address, Secretary of State, John Kerry, reminded us of the importance of resiliency as well as the importance of sharing information and best practices, particularly between the public and private sectors. I therefore also urge you to build a diverse network and make use of those relationships – with your colleagues, industry partners, suppliers and your own employees. They will play a significant role when working through an event like Paris.

A lesson I have also learned over the past seven years of developing, implementing and now managing the Global Travel Safety Program for Bank of America, is the importance of real and accurate intelligence. This is never felt more than in the midst of a crisis. We are fortunate to have three leading travel risk management (TRM) suppliers currently serving on the Risk Committee. The perspectives they are able to offer from their expertise, and the vantage point of their clients, is invaluable. As a result, we wanted to share with you their security and advice information in regard to Paris:

Additionally, in December, these area TRM suppliers will be opening their doors to our GBTA direct members for an unprecedented “behind the scenes” visit of their facilities and service offerings. For access and convenience, three (3) separate locations and dates are being offered and I strongly suggest you take advantage of this unique opportunity. Each session will include travel risk, medical and security information provided by senior leadership, as well as a tour of the respective operations center. Personally, I have toured all three sites and know that our members will be wowed by what they experience. I am also confident that participants will walk away more informed about travel risk management and with a better understanding of how medical and security assistance services truly operate in action.

Due to the increased interest following the Paris attacks, space is limited so we are asking guests to RSVP to the host of their selected site by Friday, November 27, 2015.

Travel Risk Management Supplier Visit Opportunities – December 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
International SOS
3600 Horizon Blvd
Suite #300
Trevose, Pennsylvania 19053

Two Sessions Available
9:00am – 12noon EST
1:00pm – 4:00pm EST

RSVP to: [email protected]

Thursday, December 3, 2015
185 Admiral Cochrane Drive
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Two Sessions Available
9:00am – 12noon EST
1:00pm – 4:00pm EST

RSVP to: [email protected]

Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Europ Assistance
4330 East West Highway
Suite 1000
Bethesda, Maryland 20814

Two Sessions Available
10:00am – 12noon EST
2:00pm – 4:00pm EST

RSVP to: [email protected]

The Risk Committee encourages GBTA members to make use of their association contacts and resources:

Additional GBTA Resources (You will need to log-in to GBTA Hub to access these documents and webinars.)

Security Guidelines For Domestic And Foreign Travel
Travel Risk Management Strategies — How To Select A TRM Partner For Your Program
Travel Risk Management
Incorporating Event And Meeting Risk Management Into Your Hotel Program
Security Services Request For Proposal
“C’est La Vie?”: A Step-By-Step Guide To Building A Travel Risk Management Program
Traveler Tracking & Risk Management Solutions

Introduction To Travel Risk Management
Mitigating The Risks Of International Travel For Women: What Organizations Can Do

Blog Post
10 Duty of Care Tips from GBTA’s Risk Committee


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