International SOS transforms into global health-care firm

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TWENTY years ago International SOS was known locally as the evacuation company.

Today the company has grown as the world’s leading international health-care provider. The firm is also into medical assistance, security services, concierge provider and a host of other assistance to take care of people on the air, ground and sea.

As a global company, International SOS is 32 years told, founded in Singapore in 1985.

“If you are sick in an airplane, you can ring out in midair and get assistance from our air specialists,” said Matthew Squires, country general manager of International SOS during its 20-year celebration in the Philippines, held at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.

Operating in the Philippines since 1996, International SOS is the only assistance company in the country to offer integrated assistance services worldwide.

International SOS is the world’s largest medical and travel security services firm, which count nearly two-thirds of the Fortune Global 500 companies as clients. It provides a range of services all over the world, including assessing medical and security risks, advising on preventive programs, and assisting with emergency response for travelers, expatriates and their dependents.

It is a privately owned company. They work with scholastic organizations, corporate clients (including the majority of the Fortune Global 500, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government agencies.

International SOS is among the oldest of companies offering traveler tracking services, armed with a TravelTracker, its flagship technology product. The device monitors the travel of 3 million people, helping organizations locate their workers in a crisis. TravelTracker is a component of International SOS’s travel risk-management program and providing assistance when needed. It has a global network of external service providers, including specialist doctors, hospitals, ambulances, charter aircraft and security personnel, Squires added.

At present, the company has 130 employees in the Philippines but a combined force of 11,000 all over the world.  “We have presence in 80 countries, 29 assistance centers and 22 concierge centers. We have our own aircraft, medics and doctor-specialists in in-flight medicine,” Squires said.

The centers are staffed by physicians, nurses, operations managers, multilingual coordinators and logistics support personnel.

“We have Aspire Lifestyles, the world’s largest concierge provider.”

Squires said as the Philippines has grown economically robust, and International SOS has also grown in complexity and is now into occupational health clinics, remote-site clinics, “we take care of people on air, ground, sea, 24/7 365 days a year.”