BRITISH CONSTRUCTION firms are baulking at reconstruction work in Iraq as insurance and security costs soar, one security expert said this week.
Highly organised guerrilla warfare in Iraq is targeting UK and US interests, said Jeff Allen, director of security at SecureRetrieve, which supplies medical staff to security teams in Iraq.
'As the security situation continues to deteriorate, insurance costs are going up and up.'
No distinction is being made between military and civilian targets, he says. 'Oil and gas are key targets. Electricity and water supplies to communities supporting the coalition are also at risk, ' said Allen.
Bechtel has the overarching reconstruction contract from the US government, but companies sending staff to Iraq have to employ their own security guards as protection.
On reconstruction contracts foreign firms must also guarantee the medical evacuation of their staff. But the usual providers of evacuation services are refusing to collect people from Iraq, because insurance costs are escalating.
Some companies want to bring in specialist medical staff, but the extra security needed is further adding to costs.