Don’t pay the Ransom


That’s what the police say. The statistics say something different. A small percentage of hostages escape and very few are rescued. Less than 1% are killed. If you, your family or your employees are at risk of being kidnapped you need two things, specialist security and ransom insurance (RI). 

RI has two conditions . One, it’s important that no one knows you have RI other wise it might actually increase the risk. Two, insurance companies only pay out once you have paid the ransom, this is to prevent fraud and force those paying the rams on to go through the process of cashing in shares, remortgaging property and borrowing from family and friends. Otherwise the kidnappers would become suspicious. 

Some governments like ours have a blanket policy of not paying ransoms if they believe the kidnappers are terrorists rather than simply criminals. However in some parts of the world the distinction is not always clear. 

Companies that offer RI also use specialist hostage negotiators. These tend to be more effective than the police as they treat the situation as a business negotiation rather than a crime and they have no agenda to arrest and prosecute simple get the hostage released unharmed. For this reason it is difficult to determine the true extent of kidnapping for ransom since in some countries it goes largely unreported. 

It’s in no-ones interest to talk about kidnap and ransom, not the family, not the kidnapers, not the insurance company, not the negotiators and not the authorities ( police or embassy staff if there involvement goes against official policy).

As a former social service director the relevance of this to every day public sector management is , you can’t always pick and chose who you do business with, you may think people shouldn’t profit out of human misery but  you’re going to pay the only issue is how much , you always need to keep at the front of your mind who your doing this for, keep emotions out of the negotiations and remember you’re the one who has to win their trust. 

Blair Mcpherson 

Security level: Public

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Paul Whiffen 1 Year Ago

Thanks Blair, interesting...

By far the best thing is not to get kidnapped in the first place. I once worked in a country where this was a small but significant risk and the lengths we went to, to avoid kidnap were extensive. Included my own former SAS protection guy and all sorts of processes about travelling by different routes, always being aware and so on.

Well worth thinking about and planning ahead...