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Business travelers are accustomed to the usual travel burdens: delayed flights, missed connections, lost hotel reservations. But those situations rarely put employees at risk of physical harm. Terrorist attacks, natural disasters, political riots and other serious threats are another story, however, as reflected in a recent study by Europ Assistance USA that found that 31% of international business travelers are concerned for their personal safety.

The study identified additional concerns and experiences of these travelers, as well as their level of preparedness, should one of these events occur. According to the study, about half (51%) of the respondents experienced a medical need while traveling and nearly a quarter (24%) have been unsure if they could obtain a prescription refill. One in two experienced a national disaster, while 28% encountered personal safety or security issues.

“With recent events such as the earthquake in Japan, political unrest in the Middle East and the ash cloud in Iceland, it’s an unpredictable and potentially risky world out there for business travelers,” said Glenn Maykish, vice president of sales and marketing for EA USA. “Understanding employee experiences and fears can help organizations better serve and protect their valuable employees while away from home.”

See Europ Assistance's infographic for more travel statistics. (Click for larger)

Emily Holbrook is the founder of Red Label Writing, LLC, a writing, editing and content strategy firm catering to insurance and risk management businesses and publications, and a former editor of Risk Management.