A Nightmare in Veracruz

What Are Risk Scenarios?

Each Risk Scenario consists of two parts — The Scenario and The Analysis.

Part 1: The Scenario (15 minutes) Read The Scenario and answer integrated poll questions that solicit your approach to the situation. The Scenario is based on hypothetical situations that showcase emerging risks.

Part 2: The Analysis Benchmark your responses against other participants, access relevant Risk & Insurance articles, review curated resources from the web and learn about existing products.

Part 3: Risk Scenarios + Webinar (1 hour) Attend the webinar to gain insights from experts who worked through similar situations. The webinar is focused on broader implications of key risks highlighted in the Scenario and includes a Q&A session.

Disclaimer: The events depicted in this scenario are fictitious. Any similarity to any corporation or person, living or dead, is merely coincidental.

The steel door to the jail cell in the Mexican town of Tuxpan closed with a jarring “clank”.

On the other side, a police captain walked away, coughing once, before moving out of sight.

For the moment, Ernie Herrerra, a field engineer for a Fresno-based oil exploration company, was alone in that jail cell. He was alone and in acute pain.

He knew, above all else, that he had to stay calm.

He had to think, he had to. But it had all happened so quickly.

He felt like he was in a dream, but it wasn’t a dream. The throbbing in the back of his neck made that all too clear for him.


Ernie had just finished a day working with core sampling crews in the Mexican state of Veracruz. There were three crews in action, probing for the kind of crude find that would make his company and its business partner, a major multinational energy conglomerate, very happy.

It had been a long, hot day, driving dirt and gravel roads, visiting the test sites, talking to the drilling teams, gathering data for his report back to headquarters.

He was finished, driving down from the foothills to his hotel room in the town of Tuxpan, when he saw a jeep barreling towards him on the mountain road.

Ernie had almost no time to react before the jeep was on him; four young men, joyriding from the looks of it. Too late, the driver saw Ernie’s SUV.

The other driver overcorrected first one way, then, overcorrected the other way.

With the driver laying on the brakes, the jeep skidded head-on into the front of Ernie’s vehicle. It was going about 35 mph when it hit Ernie.

Even though he saw it coming, Ernie was whipsawed by the impact.

Lights flashed behind his eyelids as his head was thrown back against his headrest and then tossed forward into the deploying airbag. The force of the backward motion was so severe that Ernie heard something crack and felt a jolt of pain run through his upper neck and the back of his skull.

In intense pain, Ernie wasn’t sure if he should even move.

What he could see inside the jeep was harrowing. One of the passengers in the backseat was convulsing from what looked like a serious head wound. The driver was unable to move, seemingly pinned into his seat by the wrecked steering wheel.

One of the uninjured passengers was trying to tend to his badly injured friend in the back seat. The other uninjured passenger pulled out his cell phone and dialed feverishly.

Panic overwhelmed the scene as it appeared the severely injured young man in the back seat could be in his death throes.

From the snippet of the cell phone conversation that Ernie was able to catch, it sounded like the uninjured passenger was talking to the police and blaming Ernie for the accident.

Does your company have a comprehensive understanding of local laws in foreign jurisdictions that could impact your traveling employees?

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Watch as we delve deeper into international travel risk and discuss key risks presented in this Scenario. The webinar is focused on broader implications of these risks and includes a Q&A session.

Panel includes:

  • Bryan Tedford, SVP, Foreign Casualty, ACE USA
  • James Walloga, VP, Global Travel Risk Management, ACE USA Accident & Health
  • Jeffrey Gardner, Vice President & Client Advisor, Marsh USA Inc.

Moderator: Dan Reynolds, Managing Editor, Risk & Insurance

Click Here to Watch the Webinar

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