MEETING PLANNERS think about travel safety all the time. As our companies' travel gurus, we have to. But what about our co-workers and producers? They're also on the road a lot, and what they don't know could hurt them. As Detective Kevin Coffey's presentation on Travel Safety and Security during the Insurance Conference Planners Association's Summer Educational Forum reminded me, it is our responsibility to educate others in our workplaces on travel safety.

That's why the four of us in the travel services department at The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co. (Horsham, Pa.) decided to institute a new program, Travel Safety Week, held December 16 to 20. To find travel safety tips, we started by looking through Detective Coffey's expansive Web site (, but there was such a wealth of information that it was difficult figuring out which tips would be most crucial. So we studied the travel habits of our company's associates and field managers. Just in the home office alone, travel time totals approximately 6,000 days a year. Our first-line field management team are on the road five to 10 days per month.

After narrowing down the most relevant tips, we shared them in an e-mail campaign that incorporated eye-catching graphics. The tips include:

  • When setting down your luggage, always place it between your legs instead of off to the side.

  • Keep wallets in front pockets instead of back pockets.

  • Keep your back to the phone in a phone booth so you can keep an eye on what's going on around you.

  • Carry only the necessities in your wallet when traveling.

  • Wait until your items are on the conveyor belt before walking through the security scanner at the airport.

The e-mail campaign was just one part of our program. Our department also purchased five computer locks, for borrow or rent, so that associates can secure their laptops while on the road. We'll assist those who want to purchase their own lock.

For the grand finale of Travel Safety Week, we set up a table in our office lobby, offering personal, laminated wallet identification cards with emergency phone numbers, a personal physician's 24-hour number, and the person's blood type. To encourage people to stop at our table, we gave the first 100 a practical gift — a nice steel luggage tag.

We are collecting feedback on Travel Safety Week, and if it is positive, we'll extend the program to our second-line field management, who do quite a bit of traveling visiting individual producers. We may offer the program to our producers as well. It took roughly eight hours of our time to set it up, which isn't much compared to the 6,000-plus days our co-workers travel each year.

Christy Freas is senior events coordinator with the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co., Horsham, Pa.