Many U.S. chief executives are in the dark about foreign insurance matters. Consider David Silver, CEO of $10-million Kofax Image Products, an office-automation company in Ir-vine, Calif.: "When we started getting involved overseas, I just bought whatever the minimum was that we needed."

Kofax never had any problems, but it's a better idea to rely on the expertise of an international insurance broker. Robert Pendergast, senior vice-president of the international division of the brokerage firm Willis Corroon Corp. of New York, in New York City, advises, "Look for brokers who can demonstrate how well they understand your industry and its insurance situation in each country where you do business. They should have affiliations with local brokers and should plan to perform a comprehensive risk analysis for you in each country.

"For midsize companies," he adds, "a broker should be able to put together a global property-casualty-insurance package, often from a U.S. carrier." -- Jill Andresky Fraser

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