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Aetna International worldwide safety and security services and benefits

Always with you, providing useful advice, valuable information and round-the-clock support, from cultural awareness to security advice and assistance.

Whether you’re an expat or globally mobile, you or your family are likely to encounter everyday disruptions at one time or another; from weather, to travel-related problems to a lost passport. You may also experience unpredictable threats, such as a political protest or disease outbreak, that interfere with your work and personal life. In worst case scenarios, you may even find yourself in the middle of a military coup or terror attack which may put your personal safety, and that of your family, at risk.

You’re more likely to experience a disruption or travel delay than a catastrophe or crisis, but if you’re not forewarned or prepared to handle these situations then you’re leaving yourself unnecessarily open to harmful implications and risk. If you’re a seasoned traveller or are globally mobile, third-party vigilance and advice can be beneficial as familiarity with a travel route and destination can often result in people misguidedly letting their guard down. On the other hand, dangerous situations such as political unrest or serious adverse weather conditions can emerge or escalate quickly in usually stable destinations.

That’s why Aetna International have a range of services that make us more than just your medical insurance provider; always with you providing useful advice, valuable information and round-the-clock support — from cultural awareness to security advice and assistance.

This guide details how Aetna International can support you every day and whenever you need us to help keep your life and work assignments running smoothly — as well as offering some handy advice to those who live abroad or travel frequently. It also contains express case studies that show just how our services benefit our members.

  • 4.3% of UK trains (900 per day) were cancelled in 2018.
  • Dozens of flights delayed or cancelled due to wind and rain in Delhi in one day in February 2019.
  • 100,000 flights within, to, and from Europe were cancelled due to the Iceland volcano of 2010: “creating the highest level of air travel disruption since the Second World War”.
  • Tour companies evacuated thousands of holidaymakers from Tunisia after the 2015 terror attack.
  • ‘Yellow vest’ protests in France caused significant road travel disruption throughout 2019.
  • A ferry workers’ strike left hundreds stranded in Alaska in July 2019
  • More foreign nationals are kidnapped in Nigeria than any other country.
  • 15,000 people had to be evacuated from Indonesia after the an alert raised on Sumatra volcano.
  • Regular protest marches in South Africa can disrupt travel and even end in violence, a July 2019 update to the British Government’s website states.
  • Hundreds of passengers were left stranded after the FlyBMI airline went out of business in 2019.

*Aetna Summit, Aetna Pioneer and Ultracare members are eligible for AdviceLine and ActionResponse. Services vary according to plan type.

Duty of loyalty

Employers have a duty of care — a responsibility — to provide safety and security support to their employees. But employees also have a duty of loyalty to their organisations to take responsibility for making sensible travel decisions, following travel risk management guidelines and actively helping to keep themselves from coming to harm or endangering their business trip or assignment.

Five simple self-protection tips for travellers and the globally mobile:

1.    Increase your awareness:

a.    Educate yourself about your new environment
b.    Stay abreast of local issues with daily alerts through Aetna International including cultural and security risk country briefings.

2.    Use your company’s travel management platform or travel app.

3.    Let friends, family or colleagues know your itinerary.

4.    Make a list of contacts for medical and non-medical emergencies and carry it with you.

5.    Ask us for emotional support or counselling after a traumatic event using our employee assistance services, including an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) and more

Types of threats to travel and international assignments

You could encounter one or more of these if you’re a frequent traveller or are relocating internationally:

  • Travel-related disruptions

Lost passport, travel delays, pickpockets, visa and entry-point documentation issues

Advice: Make a photocopy of your passport and visa and keep them separate from your passport as back-up identification

  • Political unrest

Political upheaval, civil unrest, coup d’état

Advice: If you find yourself in an area where a demonstration or protest march is taking place, leave the area as quickly as possible. If you cannot leave the area, seek shelter in large, public buildings such as hotels, churches, or hospitals

  • Natural disasters

Wildfires, floods, ash clouds, earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, volcanoes

Advice: Stay abreast of weather conditions ahead of and during travel. Plan appropriately for bad weather, including confirming itineraries and making disaster contingency plans

  • Illness and diseases

Infectious disease outbreaks, pandemics

Advice: Keep your company’s hotline number or other emergency phone number on you at all times

  • Terrorism, violence and crime

Terrorism, kidnapping, express kidnapping, violent crime, opportunistic crime, imprisonment

Advice: Use well-marked radio taxis, taxi stands where available, or have a taxi or car services ordered by your hotel if possible

  • Accidents

Road/workplace accidents, airline catastrophe, hotel fires

Advice: Walk to your hotel’s fire exits to ensure they are free of clutter and know where they lead to. Count the number of doors from your room to the fire exit in case of power failure or heavy smoke

Aetna Security Assistance in partnership with crisis response management experts at WorldAware, provides you access to the security advice and assistance you need to stay safe — such as global security alerts, security briefings and more.


Employees who don’t follow company protocols and organisations that don’t have robust duty-of-care programs could be unnecessarily risking not only their personal safety, but potentially incurring costs associated with emergency evacuations, medical care costs, productivity, and damage to the company’s reputation.

Dr Mitesh Patel, Medical Director, Aetna International, says: “These company travel policies and processes can be as simple as ensuring an employee submits a travel itinerary and checks in once they’ve arrived in location to providing employees with an international medical insurance policy that includes travel and weather alerts, support for employees on-the-move.”

In case of non-medical emergency:

In the event of a natural disaster, escalating political situation, call our crisis management experts at +44 (0)207 741 2175 or +1 646 513 4232.

For emergency evacuation support or in the event of a natural disaster, escalating political situation, call our crisis management experts at +44 (0)203 291 2424 or call the number on the back of your Aetna International Member ID Card.

For medical emergencies: In the event of a medical emergency (prescription refill, illness or accident), contact the CARE team by calling the number on the back of your membership card.

For more information about the CARE team and the other benefits and services available through your plan, login to (or register for) the Health Hub.

Are you an employer? Find out more about how Aetna International’s CARE team can help you support your international employees and help to keep them healthy, happy, safe and productive.

* Aetna Summit, Aetna Pioneer and Ultracare members are eligible for AdviceLine and ActionResponse. Services vary according to plan type and are available as a buy-up. 

Aetna® is a trademark of Aetna Inc. and is protected throughout the world by trademark registrations and treaties.

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