Well-rounded Travel Protection: What are Post-departure Coverages and How Can They Help Your Clients?

Sign up to sell CSA's travel insurance plans

summer-zikaBack in 2006, a consumer study conducted by the US Travel Insurance Association (UStiA) showed that many trip goers who optioned not to insure their travels were, nevertheless, familiar with flight and trip cancellation protection plans; however, the majority of those travelers were not familiar with travel health insurance, baggage coverage, and medical evacuation insurance. In fact, even when surveying travelers who did purchase travel insurance plans, the study found only 50% of those consumers were aware of medical evacuation insurance.

Much has changed in the travel insurance industry over the past 10 years. More travelers are purchasing insurance than in years past and, in a risk-laden travel landscape, the demand for trip protection is on the rise. Though the UStiA study suggests Trip Cancellation was once a more widely-known travel protection coverage, many standard travel insurance plans have always included, and continue to include, a number of perhaps lesser-known post-departure coverages that take effect when your clients begin their scheduled trip.

Helping your clients familiarize themselves with these valuable components of a protection plan could help reveal the product’s overall value and also help them decide if insuring their next trip is the right choice for them.

What Post-Departure Coverages Do

Post-departure coverages are designed to reimburse your clients for specific financial losses that they might suffer as a result of travel misfortune. Unlike Trip Cancellation, the post departure coverages don’t take effect until they begin their trip. Many plans include a variety of post-departure coverages and depending on the plan they purchase, multiple coverages could be of use to them if they encounter an unexpected event that interrupts their vacation.

For instance, say one of your clients is out sight-seeing on the second day of a long-awaited family tour package when, the next thing he knows, an extra step backwards to capture the perfect photograph sends him tumbling down an unfamiliar set of stairs. A hurried visit to the nearest Emergency Room (which happens to be by no means “near” his original hotel booking) results in a fractured ankle, a string of medical bills for out-of-network medical treatment, the family’s overnight stay at a hotel near the ER, and a now useless—and completely non-refundable—tour package because it’s medically necessary for him to return home.

In this scenario, Medical and Dental, Travel Delay, and Trip Interruption are three post-departure coverages that could potentially help your client recoup his losses. In addition to seeking reimbursement for the out-of-network emergency room bills that his primary insurance provider may not cover, he can also claim compensation for lodging, meals, local transportation, and telephone calls while he’s delayed; the unused, prepaid portion of his tour package; and even additional transportation costs to return home early. Provided your client insured the entire family’s arrangements when he bought his plan, your client and his family could all return home together and claim for the full remainder of the pre-paid family trip while limiting the stress of having to give up their vacation with no opportunity for reimbursement. Like Trip Cancellation, post-departure coverages are intended to make travelers “whole” again after suffering losses resulting from a listed covered event, like an unexpected injury.

Generally speaking, Medical and Dental typically provides coverage for physician-ordered medical services varying from prescription drugs and medicines to local ambulance services if your clients get sick or injured while on their trip, while Travel Delay aims to reimburse for reasonable additional expenses like lodging, meals, and local transportation while they’re delayed. Trip Interruption provides reimbursement for the prepaid nonrefundable portion of their trip that they had to forfeit due to the unexpected interruption as well as additional transportation costs that they had to pay to return home early or rejoin the rest of their travel party.

But these are just three of several post-departure coverages included with many standard travel insurance plans. Others include Baggage Coverage, Baggage Delay, Emergency Assistance and Transportation, Accidental Death and Dismemberment, Missed Connection, and even Rental Car Damage Coverage.

What’s Right for Your Clients

Depending on the nature of your clients’ arrangements, their destination, and their unique individual needs and medical histories, many different types of travel insurance plans could be a good fit for their next trip. For instance, when traveling abroad, the U.S. Department of State advises travelers to learn about a protection plan’s health insurance and medical evacuation features to ensure they’re properly protected overseas or in the event of an emergency. Or perhaps they’re scheduling a cruise and intend to bring a variety of jewelry and formal wear on board. In that case, maybe a plan with increased baggage coverage limits appeals.

Wherever their next trip takes them, be sure to look beyond Trip Cancellation and explore what a plan’s post-departure coverages have to offer your clients. To learn more about the post-departure coverages available with CSA Travel Protection’s insurance offerings, contact your dedicated account manager.

Sign up to sell CSA's travel insurance plans

Travel insurance plans are administered by Customized Services Administrators, Inc., CA Lic. No. 821931, located in San Diego, CA and doing business as Generali Global Assistance and Insurance Services. Plans are available to residents of the U.S. but may not be available in all jurisdictions. Benefits and services are described on a general basis; certain conditions and exclusions apply. Travel Retailers may not be licensed to sell insurance, in all states, and are not authorized to answer technical questions about the benefits, exclusions, and conditions of this insurance and cannot evaluate the adequacy of your existing insurance. This plan provides insurance coverage for your trip that applies only during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home and automobile policies. The purchase of this plan is not required in order to purchase any other travel product or service offered to you by your travel retailers. If you have any questions about your current coverage, call your insurer, insurance agent or broker. This notice provides general information on Generali Global Assistance’s products and services only. The information contained herein is not part of an insurance policy and may not be used to modify any insurance policy that might be issued. In the event the actual policy forms are inconsistent with any information provided herein, the language of the policy forms shall govern.

Travel insurance plans are underwritten by: Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY; NAIC # 11231. Generali US Branch operates under the following names: Generali Assicurazioni Generali S.P.A. (U.S. Branch) in California, Assicurazioni Generali – U.S. Branch in Colorado, Generali U.S. Branch DBA The General Insurance Company of Trieste & Venice in Oregon, and The General Insurance Company of Trieste and Venice – U.S. Branch in Virginia. Generali US Branch is admitted or licensed to do business in all states and the District of Columbia.

A227_16_04

Summer Travel Trends and the Zika Effect

Travelers are in the midst of making decisions about their summer plans, and there are many factors—including security—that play into their choices. Traveling overseas on the U.S. Dollar is cheaper than it has been in a while, but concern about the Zika virus is affecting international bookings and could boost domestic travel. How could this affect leisure travel this summer?

International Travel

“Flight bookings to destinations hit by the Zika virus have been consistently slowing, following the US government’s travel warning and the World Health Organization’s declaration of a global health emergency,” according to ForwardKeys, a traveler data intelligence company.

summer-zikaFlight bookings to Zika affected areas dropped about 8 percent after the official travel warnings were released in January, according to ForwardKeys. “Some destinations are less affected by the current situation, while others combine Zika with previous negative trends, thus worsening their performance,” the report says.

For example, flight bookings to Brazil made from Jan 15th to Feb 10th were down just three percent compared to the same period last year, while Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were hit hard with a 22 and 27 percent drop, respectively.

Whether this booking trend will continue and how it will actually affect the number of summer travelers is undetermined, but the same report shows expected arrivals between March and May remain down for the hardest hit destinations.

It may come in handy to bookmark the CDC’s Zika prevention kit for any travelers that may be headed into Zika affected areas.

Cruise Travel

One-third of the world’s cruise ship capacity is deployed in the Caribbean, where Zika is a serious concern. How might the cruise industry be affected by this?

24 million cruise passengers are expected to set sail this year, according to figures released by the Cruise Lines International Association before the virus became a worldwide concern. Wells Fargo Securities analyst Tim Conder estimated that, at most, the alarm over the Zika virus may cause cruise bookings this year to be cut by 6 percent, or 1.4 million travelers, according to CNBC. He also advised that cruise lines generally don’t allow pregnant women in their third trimester on board. Since pregnant women are being warned not to travel to Zika affected areas, this may limit the number of cancelations or decisions not to cruise.

The International Travel & Health Insurance Journal recently reported that demand for specific cruise travel insurance is growing along with the rise in cruise bookings. According to figures from InsureMyTrip, the number of travel insurance policies sold to cruisers in January jumped 10 percent compared to the same month last year.

Domestic Travel

“With the increase of security threats happening abroad, I wouldn’t be surprised if in 2016 we begin to see more U.S. travelers booking trips to domestic hotspots like Hawaii, Alaska and San Diego,” said Cassie McNab, marketing manager at CSA Travel Protection.

Travelers in the U.S. are spending more this year, and more this summer— at least that was the forecast in December. A 3.4 percent rise in U.S. travel expenditures was forecast for 2016, according to the U.S. Travel Association, and signs show domestic travel may even get a boost from fear about overseas terrorism and the Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Andrew Saunders, president of the real estate company Saunders & Associates, recently told U.S. News and World Report that security concerns are causing an increase in the number of travelers choosing to stay close to home rather than renting overseas this year.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll from February showed that 41 percent of Americans aware of the Zika virus say they are less likely to take a trip to affected areas.

Luckily, no cases of Zika are reported to have been acquired in the United States. However, it’s still a sound idea to keep an eye out. The types of mosquitoes that are able to transmit the virus have historically been found across the US, from East to West coasts, and some estimates show that up to 200 million Americans live in areas where the disease could potentially spread during the summer.

On a lighter note — road trips are likely to be a popular summer getaway. With gas prices at decade lows and the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service, featuring centennial celebration events throughout the nation in August, the roads are sure to be packed.

The AARP reports that 95 percent of Baby Boomers plan to travel domestically in 2016, with Florida, Las Vegas, California, New York and Hawaii as the most mentioned destinations. Summer Vacations, Multi-Generational trips, and Weekend Getaways are cited as the most popular reasons for Boomer travel, which are also some of the peak situations for choosing to stay at a vacation rental.

Sign up to sell CSA's travel insurance plans

Travel insurance plans are administered by Customized Services Administrators, Inc., CA Lic. No. 821931, located in San Diego, CA and doing business as Generali Global Assistance and Insurance Services. Plans are available to residents of the U.S. but may not be available in all jurisdictions. Benefits and services are described on a general basis; certain conditions and exclusions apply. Travel Retailers may not be licensed to sell insurance, in all states, and are not authorized to answer technical questions about the benefits, exclusions, and conditions of this insurance and cannot evaluate the adequacy of your existing insurance. This plan provides insurance coverage for your trip that applies only during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home and automobile policies. The purchase of this plan is not required in order to purchase any other travel product or service offered to you by your travel retailers. If you have any questions about your current coverage, call your insurer, insurance agent or broker. This notice provides general information on Generali Global Assistance’s products and services only. The information contained herein is not part of an insurance policy and may not be used to modify any insurance policy that might be issued. In the event the actual policy forms are inconsistent with any information provided herein, the language of the policy forms shall govern.

Travel insurance plans are underwritten by: Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY; NAIC # 11231. Generali US Branch operates under the following names: Generali Assicurazioni Generali S.P.A. (U.S. Branch) in California, Assicurazioni Generali – U.S. Branch in Colorado, Generali U.S. Branch DBA The General Insurance Company of Trieste & Venice in Oregon, and The General Insurance Company of Trieste and Venice – U.S. Branch in Virginia. Generali US Branch is admitted or licensed to do business in all states and the District of Columbia.

A222_16_03

Trip Insurance 101 for Cruise Travel: Why It Matters During Wave Season

Every year the travel industry looks forward to wave season─the timeframe from January through March when cruise lines are offering some of their most widely advertised discounts and sales events. As you work to maintain your wave season booking momentum this winter and beyond, don’t forget to make key travel protection considerations for your cruise clients.

Health and Safety

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cruise ship travel poses potential health hazards and staying informed and prepared for those dangers can help travelers fully enjoy their vacations. Cruisers might encounter viral illnesses or seasickness, and respiratory illnesses are reportedly common aboard cruise ships. Chronic conditions could also unexpectedly worsen as a result of cruise-related stressors such as changes in diet or climate variations.

Travel insurance can offer a unique global solution if your client’s health insurance provider doesn’t extend coverage outside of the United States. Note that Medicare, in particular, may not provide coverage internationally. If an insured experiences a sickness or injury on their trip they can utilize their travel insurance plan to seek reimbursement for otherwise potentially burdensome medical expenses.

Many travel protection plans can also help prepare your clients in the event of a medical emergency. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medical evacuations by air ambulance can cost $50,000-$100,000 and must be paid in advance by travelers who don’t have insurance. Offering a travel protection plan that includes Emergency Assistance Services and Emergency Medical Transportation could help them feel more comfortable with their booking. Such protection plans provide travelers with access to a 24/7 international emergency hotline and coverage for emergency medical evacuations.

The Cruise Connection

Cruises differ from self-directed travel in terms of itinerary. If a self-directed traveler encounters a flight delay at the start of their vacation, they could suffer inconvenience and financial loss but they won’t, quite literally, be missing their boat. Delays due to inclement weather or other unforeseen events can result in amplified problems for cruisers, such as forfeited prepaid trip arrangements, additional transportation expenses, and the necessary purchase of clothing or other personal items while delayed. Many travel protection plans include coverages that can reimburse for such expenses. Review a plan’s Description of Coverage or Policy for a complete schedule of benefits and full details on coverages like Trip Interruption, Travel Delay, Missed Connection, and Baggage Delay.

A carefully planned trip should be carefree. Travel insurance can ease otherwise unpleasant conversations with unlucky cruise clients and protection plans from CSA Travel Protection frequently include the above mentioned services and coverages. Call our award winning Customer Service Department to learn more about your agency’s plan offerings or contact your dedicated Account Manager to set up a sales training.

Travel insurance plans are administered by Customized Services Administrators, Inc., CA Lic. No. 821931, located in San Diego, CA and doing business as Generali Global Assistance and Insurance Services. Plans are available to residents of the U.S. but may not be available in all jurisdictions. Benefits and services are described on a general basis; certain conditions and exclusions apply. Travel Retailers may not be licensed to sell insurance, in all states, and are not authorized to answer technical questions about the benefits, exclusions, and conditions of this insurance and cannot evaluate the adequacy of your existing insurance. This plan provides insurance coverage for your trip that applies only during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home and automobile policies. The purchase of this plan is not required in order to purchase any other travel product or service offered to you by your travel retailers. If you have any questions about your current coverage, call your insurer, insurance agent or broker. This notice provides general information on Generali Global Assistance’s products and services only. The information contained herein is not part of an insurance policy and may not be used to modify any insurance policy that might be issued. In the event the actual policy forms are inconsistent with any information provided herein, the language of the policy forms shall govern.

Travel insurance plans are underwritten by: Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY; NAIC # 11231. Generali US Branch operates under the following names: Generali Assicurazioni Generali S.P.A. (U.S. Branch) in California, Assicurazioni Generali – U.S. Branch in Colorado, Generali U.S. Branch DBA The General Insurance Company of Trieste & Venice in Oregon, and The General Insurance Company of Trieste and Venice – U.S. Branch in Virginia. Generali US Branch is admitted or licensed to do business in all states and the District of Columbia.

E022_16_02

Travel Agents: Where do your clients want to vacation in 2016? Should they consider travel insurance?

As 2015 comes to a close, travel agents might be noticing a few new trends taking shape for the New Year. “With the increase of recent security threats happening abroad, I wouldn’t be surprised if in 2016 we begin to see more U.S. travelers booking trips to domestic hotspots like Hawaii, Alaska and San Diego,” said Cassie McNab, marketing manager at CSA Travel Protection.

“Believe it or not, this is the time of year when travelers start booking spring break vacations, so Miami and Las Vegas could be other popular destinations,” McNab added.

However, there are always customers who have their hearts set on traveling to places on their bucket lists as well, no matter the political climate.

As a leading provider of full-service travel protection solutions to U.S. travelers for more than 20 years, CSA Travel Protection recommends educating customers about their travel insurance options. “Here’s a good rule of thumb for knowing when to purchase travel insurance. Ask yourself, ‘Can I afford to recoup the costs of my trip?’ If the answer is no, then you should consider travel protection. Look for policies that meet your specific needs. There are many different kinds of travel protection plans available and, most importantly, you want to purchase from a reputable source,” noted McNab.

According to CSA, a small percentage of its customers require medical evacuations or find themselves in dire emergency medical situations. In fact, the most common reasons for making travel insurance claims in 2015 are the following:

  1. Trip Cancellation
  2. Trip Interruption
  3. Medical and Dental

When looking to make your next travel protection purchase or recommending travel insurance to a customer, be sure to take these top reasons into consideration. You may want to look at the plan coverages to be sure that they include these elements.

Consumers should always review a sample insurance policy or description of coverage before purchasing a plan (e.g. CSA Custom Luxe Plan). “If one isn’t available prior to purchase, then we do not recommend buying that plan as it’s always wise to research up front and know what is covered before departing on a trip,” McNab said. “Travelers can download and save or print and carry their policies with them on their covered trips for easy reference.”

Travel agents, travel protection companies and credible online sources can be valuable resources for becoming more knowledgeable about travel insurance. “The more travel agents know about travel insurance and emergency services, the more they can educate their customers. Education is empowerment,” McNab said.

Sign up to sell CSA's travel insurance plans