Travel Insurance: Why You Should Give It A Look (Or Second Look)
By Sharon L. Broo, CTA, Contributor
As professionals in the motorcoach industry, you’re probably saddled daily with never-ending responsibilities related to logistics, operations and planning. Perhaps offering travel insurance has never even occurred to you. Or you’ve thought about it, but the thought of adding one more responsibility to your plate is overwhelming. The good news is, starting and maintaining a travel insurance program for your business may be easier and less involved than you think, and can be a nice boost to your bottom line.
The Importance Of Travel Insurance For Your Passengers
Your customers trust you with planning and executing flawless trips and experiences for them. Once they book, they may be on the hook for any pre-paid, non-refundable expenses, even if they’re forced to cancel their trip. And once their trip has started, they may be concerned about something disrupting their trip, such as a family emergency back home, or experiencing an illness or accident requiring medical care. Travel insurance can go a long way toward granting peace of mind to your passengers so they can enjoy their trip to the fullest. By offering a travel insurance plan to your customers, you are providing them with the coverage they need to enjoy a memorable trip with your company.
Which Companies Should Offer Travel Insurance?
Any company that offers trips requiring a non-refundable payment should consider having a travel insurance program in place. Trips can be domestic or international, and may range from a few days to a week or more. Travel insurance is available for travelers of all ages, but tends to be most highly-sought by those in their 60’s and older, or by travelers who have a large non-refundable trip cost to protect.
The Benefit To Your Business
A travel insurance program designed with the needs of your business in mind can not only drive additional revenue, but can offer value to your travelers, too.
The chart below tells a story about the success you may find with an active travel insurance program. When a traveler buys a policy, first and foremost, they and their tour investment are protected. Secondly, the tour operator and travel advisor can alleviate some liability that they may not be held responsible for regarding losses incurred by the traveler. It’s a win-win for all.
Typical Coverage Included On A Travel Insurance Plan
Standard comprehensive travel insurance plans include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Travel Delay, Emergency Medical Expense, Emergency Medical Evacuation and more. The Trip Cancellation benefit provides coverage in the event the traveler must cancel their trip for a covered reason on the plan such as their own illness, illness or death in their immediate family, inclement weather, natural disaster and more, depending on the plan. The Trip Interruption benefit generally covers these same scenarios, but coverage kicks in after the trip departure. The Emergency Medical Expense benefit can reimburse the traveler in case they need to obtain covered medical care while away from home, and the Emergency Medical Evacuation can cover the cost of transport to the nearest adequate medical facility for treatment. Some of these events are not pleasant to think about, but they would be much worse without the financial protection of insurance.
Many travel insurance plans offer an optional upgrade called Cancel For Any Reason, or CFAR. A traveler can expect to pay about 50% more than the standard plan cost for this upgrade, but it allows them to cancel their trip for any reason outside those listed on the policy, and still be reimbursed for a large portion of their non-refundable trip cost. (Reimbursement amount depends on the specific plan, but it’s usually 50-75% of the trip cost.) Since the start of the pandemic with increased uncertainty around travel, demand for CFAR has skyrocketed, so it’s a good idea to seek a plan with this option for your customers.
Finally, just about all travel insurance plans come with 24/7 travel assistance services, meaning the insured traveler can call any time from anywhere in the world and get help with medical emergencies, such as finding a doctor or hospital, making urgent changes to travel plans, replacing a lost prescription, coordinating emergency medical evacuation, and more.
Setting Up A New Program Or Switching To A New Provider
When reviewing your options for a travel insurance program, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Think about your clientele and what benefits and limits they might seek for your trips. Your travel insurance provider can assist with reviewing your trip portfolio and evaluating needs.
- Seek out a plan that is easy to administer. You are busy running your business, so your travel insurance program should not be an added hassle. Ideally, seek out a plan that offers a consumer website that you can provide to your clients so they can purchase insurance themselves.
- Most importantly, find a travel insurance program where your company is not just a number; work with a travel insurance administrator who will truly partner with you. They should take time to understand your business and your clientele, learn your program objectives, and coach you on how to market your travel insurance program, so you become an “educated and trained tour operator” as referenced in the revenue chart. Ideally, your program administrator will provide all the materials you need to market your program, including a website, flyer, script, banner advertisements, and more.
Usually, setting up a new travel insurance program is straightforward and can be completed within a month or so (sometimes less!). Now is the perfect time to implement or reactivate your travel insurance program. It may not only give a big boost to your company’s bottom line, but also to the trust your customers place in you.
About USI Travel Insurance Services: Established in 1973, USI Travel Insurance Services is a national insurance agency/brokerage providing travel-related insurance solutions for individuals, groups, organizations and businesses worldwide. Sharon Broo serves as Vice President of Travel Insurance Services. (www.travelinsure.com).