June 15, 2024

Peace of mind

We check in with J Laurence Sarno, Co-Founder and CMO of Mia Bazo, a newly-launched travel risk management platform aimed at individuals and SMEs

Why is Mia Bazo designed specifically for individuals and SMEs?

We believe in the power of individuals and SMEs to effect positive change on the future of work and the environment. In the world we envision, commitment to ESG – Environmental Social Governance – will become mainstream.

Our sister company Voyage Manager, which shares its technology with Mia Bazo, has been serving large organisations since 2010. To our knowledge, every other travel risk management company is focused on the enterprise market. We created the self-service Mia Bazo platform so individuals and SMEs could access the same technology at an affordable price.

Why is it important for SMEs to be aware of managing travel risk? 

The tools we offer for exercising duty of care – travel tracking and travel security – are important because SMEs are vulnerable to lawsuits if their people are injured or killed whilst travelling on business. Taking all reasonable precautions to keep people safe doesn’t eliminate the liability, but it can mitigate it.

We’d like to believe our customers implement travel safety because it’s the right thing to do. Companies who feel strongly about the “S” in ESG – the social environment, psychological safety – understand this right away.

If a company is looking at travel safety for the first time, what procedures should they put in place? 

Let’s turn that question on its head. Rather than imposing new procedures, we believe companies should begin a conversation with their people who travel. Exercising duty of care is a collaboration.

For example, if people don’t read the country guides that advise them on how to stay safe at their destination, or don’t respond to messages asking if they have arrived, the value of our tools would be limited.

So the first step for an SME is to discover what technology is available, present those options to their people, and let travellers decide the level of protection they want.

Is it more important now for a company to meet duty of care? And if so, why? 

Most of the time, travel is safe. However, we are now experiencing more extreme weather events and political unrest.

Our founder, John Scott, was in Sri Lanka when the tsunami hit in 2004. His experience during the relief effort formed the idea for the technology that is now Mia Bazo. As an environmentalist, John was sure incidents of extreme weather would increase.

Risk management is about peace of mind. Even if safety incidents are few and far between, knowing you will receive real-time security alerts for travellers’ locations provides this.

Is travel risk all about the safety of individuals?

We interpret it more broadly – for example, the risk of individuals and companies incurring tax by spending too many days working in another country, or the risk of staff being denied entry, fined or expelled from countries because they overstayed their visas.

The same is true for people travelling domestically in the United States; spending weeks or months at a time in another state could make you liable for tax.

If you went to one of the major accountancies you could get the equivalent of our tax compliance tools at a cost approaching six figures. You shouldn’t have to be one of the world’s wealthiest companies to afford this technology.

Why did you build the technology that allows SMEs to measure their carbon footprint? And why is it free? 

One of the greatest risks of travel is to the environment. Our climate impact tool lets individuals and SMEs calculate the carbon footprint of their vehicles, properties and any mode of travel. They can also purchase carbon offset on the site.

We have recently added carbon budgeting and carbon planning. For companies who want to demonstrate their green credentials, they can publish their carbon balance.

The tool is free because as SMEs, it’s our responsibility not to leave the problem of climate change to governments and major corporations.

Do users need to license the full suite of Mia Bazo products?

Our tiers are Free, which is for Climate Impact; Basic, which adds Travel Tracking, the Document Vault and Expense Management, and costs USD 4.99 per month/per user; Standard, which adds Travel Security, for USD 9.99; and Premium, which adds Tax and Visa Compliance, for USD 14.99.

How do users get set up on Mia Bazo? How long does it take?

Mia Bazo is self-service, so you can sign up and purchase your licenses online. Depending on how many users you’re adding, it can take as little as 15 minutes to be up and running.