Consularcare was launched to bridge the gap between government consular services and the offerings of private assistance companies. We are often asked to expand on this statement and to demonstrate that there is a genuine need for our services. Have a browse through our website to get an in-depth answer to that request, but in the meantime, we will summarise the ‘gap’ and explain more about each solution.
Medical Assistance Companies
Medical assistance companies manage the patient care of people who fall ill or are injured abroad. They will identify the nearest appropriate medical facility for your treatment, and arrange transport and a medical escort if deemed necessary. They will also organise and oversee required medical treatment as well as repatriation. Often partnered with insurance companies, medical assistance companies can liaise directly with claims handlers to ascertain cover restrictions and facilitate direct payment of medical fees. They will contact family, friends and employers with updates on your condition.
Security Assistance Companies
Security assistance companies offer access to security and crisis management experts for advice and, when necessary, help on the ground, in the event of a security-related incident. These can include drivers, close protection, evacuation and assistance in cases of kidnapping. Often provided to corporate clients, as a duty of care to employees working abroad solution, security assistance companies will supply pre-travel advice, crisis response planning, employee tracking and destination risk assessments. From an organisation’s operational perspective, security assistance companies may supply business intelligence, employee screening, contingency planning, and corporate investigations.
Government Consular Services
Government provisions, and for the sake of illustration we will talk about the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), support their citizens with consular assistance if they get into difficulty abroad. However, and particularly in the case of the FCO, limited resources mean that only the most vulnerable receive assistance. Many people are surprised to learn that there is no legal right to consular assistance, it is totally discretionary. Every case is assessed individually to ascertain vulnerability and needs, based on who you are, where you are and the situation you are facing. In 2015-16 the FCO provided assistance to 23,857 British nationals and issued over 31,000 emergency travel documents. Its network of British embassies, high commissions and consulates handled over 390,000 telephone enquiries, and staff supported British nationals in 9 major crises overseas.
What we have in common
We all seek a satisfactory resolution to the issue (although ConsularAssist helps in a much broader range of scenarios).
We all employ experienced, trained members of staff (although, with the exception of FCO, ConsularAssist is the only one staffed by former Diplomats with associated diplomatic experience).
We can assist organisations to meet their duty of care to employees (although ConsularAssist will help in more minor situations, that can still cause a significant impact on an employee and an organisation, such as a lost passport or being a victim of mugging).
The gap that only ConsularAssist fills
The services provided by medical and security assistance companies are pretty clear-cut and cover very specific incidents. In the case of security assistance, those incidents tend to be at the higher end of personal and corporate risk. But who takes care of the victims of minor crime, or someone who has lost their passport?
If the FCO were in a position to offer consular services to every UK national, there would be no need for ConsularAssist! The harsh reality is that FCO help is discretionary, no-one has a legal right to it. Resources are limited, so the FCO helps those it considers to be most vulnerable, with no set criteria as to what makes you eligible. Just because you don’t tick all the boxes, doesn’t mean you don’t feel alone and vulnerable when something bad happens abroad. That’s why we founded Consularcare- so there is a contractual certainty to receiving services that are at a government’s discretion. Because everyone should be able to travel the world without worry.