80% of U.S. business travelers think their company has a legal obligation to ensure their safety while traveling abroad on business, yet almost half (46%) say they have no clear travel security policy at their firm, according to an inaugural survey by Control Risks, the business risk consultancy.

Control Risks found that 52% of U.S. employees who travel on business would consider legal action if they were not supported properly. ?Increasingly, companies from all sectors face a potential legal responsibility to demonstrate duty of care towards employees,? says Laura Winthrop, Vice President of Control Risks? International Support and Analysis division. ?Creating and maintaining a robust travel security program is an extremely important part of that. It will ensure the safety of employees while helping the firm to avoid costly legal and reputational fall-out if something goes wrong.?

While travel security is a concern for employees, U.S. companies are not as prepared as they should be. More than one-third (36%) of business travelers have little confidence that their firm would be able to give them the correct advice in the event of an emergency while abroad. In addition, 54% carry no specific contact phone number for use in a crisis abroad and 22% have no idea who to alert in case of an emergency.

?As companies continue to globalize and move into emerging markets, threats to business travelers increase,? says Ms. Winthrop. ?This report tells us that employees feel more exposed to potential dangers but they don?t have the support necessary to ensure their safety.?

A Control Risks case study illustrates the need for coordinated travel security support:

An American employee from a US-based company was working in Lebanon at the time of the July/August 2006 conflict and needed immediate instructions on what to do and how to get out of the country. The company had been trying to handle this internally, but too many people were calling giving him conflicting information. In turn, they received conflicting information in terms of who he was and the status of his situation. Control Risks? 24-hour operations center, CR24, stepped in and as a result we were able to have a single point of communication with the employee and pass along timely and accurate information to the company?s management. We provided the employee with information on where to hide during the rocket attacks and how to get on the list to be evacuated.

The business travel climate does not look like it will improve anytime soon. 43% of the respondents predict that the world will become a more dangerous place for business travelers over the next five years. In light of this, corporations should make a move to adopt travel security policies and procedures or review their current programs for three basic components: information, tracking and 24-hour support.

The Business Travel Report will be officially released at the NBTA (National Business Travel Association) International Convention & Exposition, July 22-25, 2007.