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    Analysis: Charlie Matheson at XL Group – Release without ransom

    March 6, 2015 by News Team in Analysis, Latest News

    Charlie Matheson

    Leader CMT Kidnap & Ransom Insurance
    Crisis Management, XL Group


    Release without ransom

    Today the risks and difficulties associated with moving ransom funds around the world and paying sanctioned groups, have led to companies and responsible risk advisers seeking new ways to achieve the release of hostages without paying a ransom. This may become an even greater feature of 2015 and beyond.

    The most common way to achieve a release without paying a ransom is to use community or political leverage to pressure or persuade the criminal or terrorist group to free the hostages.  This implies that the hostages or their company/agency must already have a strong element of acceptance in the community – in other words, influential members of the community are already so convinced of the need to allow the company or aid agency to continue operating that they feel it necessary or desirable to put themselves in some danger in order to argue for the release of the hostages.

    Establishing, maintaining and monitoring acceptance is not easy.  Companies and agencies need to plan and work hard to establish acceptance within a community – it is a discrete activity that requires a strong understanding of the local political economy and real commitment of management time and, sometimes, money. Monitoring levels of acceptance needs to be realistic and objective – something not always easily done in either the corporate or the aid/humanitarian world.

    Experience shows that, if a company or aid agency has developed and maintained sufficient community acceptance, it may be possible to resolve a kidnap through the mediation of figures or groups in the local community.  This has been done on many continents, but is relatively common in societies with strong clan, tribal or religious structures.  It is very important to assess the motives of individuals or groups who say they are willing to mediate on a company or aid agency’s behalf.  Mediation often takes place well away from the company or aid agency, who need to trust that the mediator is ‘keeping to the script’.  It is also important to assess accurately the probability that the mediator will be accepted by the kidnappers, and that the risk is not too great.

     


    Charlie Matheson joined XL Group in 2013 to lead its Crisis Management team’s Kidnap & Ransom insurance offering.

    He is supported by an exclusive contract with one of the world’s foremost risk consultancies –  Terra Firma Risk Management LLP,  who provide specialist Kidnap & Ransom response capabilities and crisis management consultancy advice.

    Charlie joined XL Group from JLT Specialty Limited where he worked from 2004, and headed the Kidnap and Ransom team since 2009.

    Iraq: Militias rely on ransoms after end of Gov funding

    As funding from the Government for militias dries up, the groups are reportedly increasingly relying on ransoms to make up the difference.

    From the Middle East Monitor -

    Kidnapping in Iraq on the rise due to financial situation

    The current financial crisis in Iraq has pushed Iraqi militias to increase kidnappings in order to obtain the necessary funds for their activities through ransom money, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed twittreported on Wednesday.

    Militias do not differentiate between Sunni and Shiites – kidnapping members of both sects – but it has been reported that they do not torture or kill hostages, but rather use them only as a means to procure funds. This proves that the main incentive for such acts in the financial crisis.

    An Iraqi citizen called Mohamed told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that his father was kidnapped in the middle of Baghdad Market. He said his father is a businessman and that he owns several clothes shops in several Iraqi cities.

    Please click here to read more.

    USA: Wife of missing Mexican scammed in related hoax

    March 6, 2015 by News Team in Americas, Latest News

    A woman whose husband has been missing in Mexico for over a year was the victim of an extortion scam in North Carolina. WBTV provides this report -

    WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

    Please click here to read the article.

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