News & Insights

Claim for employee arrest in Africa called for international law expertise

Published 14 June 2022

Having an employee arrested and convicted while on a business trip to an emerging economy involves a raft of challenges for the company involved. Fortunately in this case the business’s corporate travel cover helped in resolving a tricky international situation. 



A fly-in, fly-out employee of an Australia based mineral exploration company operating in West Africa was on his way to the airport to return to South Africa after finishing his work schedule when he was detained at the airport and bundled into a van by plain clothes individuals without any warrant for his arrest. The journey ended in jail.

The reason for this abduction? Unbeknownst to him he had been tried and convicted of forgery in the country’s criminal court. He subsequently spent five days in jail and was detained from leaving for a further two weeks.

After engaging legal help to successfully extricate himself from the situation the employee sought reimbursement from his employer for the costs involved.


Gallagher reviewed the case and claimed under the illegal detention provision in the company’s corporate travel insurance for
the employee’s legal representation costs

  • daily detention allowance of $500 per diem
  • rebooking cost for the flight to return home after the employee’s release.

At first the insurer denied the claim on the grounds that the arrest had not been unlawful and had arisen from a commercial dispute between businesses.

With the help of the Gallagher international team the claims advocate re-examined the case with reference to the country’s legal system and how it applied to the employee’s arrest and detainment.
We were able to show that this had not been carried out in compliance with the country’s Criminal Procedure Act and was therefore unlawful.

When this argument was submitted to the insurer the claim was renegotiated and ultimately paid in full. Our international expertise and knowledge of legal frameworks enabled us to address the unique circumstances in this claim.

We pride ourselves on our claims service

Part of our commitment to building business confidence is fighting for what’s right, and supporting clients through claims is one of our key pillars of business practice.

Gallagher claims expertise and 17 case studies are outlined in the Gallagher Advocacy in Action report where you can read more about this oil production claim in detail and other examples from professional indemnity to corporate travel. 

Download the report Claims Advocacy in Action: 17 Real Life Case Studies now. 

Further reading


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Gallagher provides insurance, risk management and benefits consulting services for clients in response to both known and unknown risk exposures. When providing analysis and recommendations regarding potential insurance coverage, potential claims and/or operational strategy in response to national emergencies (including health crises), we do so from an insurance and/or risk management perspective.
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