Travelers Booking Shorter, Affordable Trips on Shorter Notice

July 13, 2009

InsureMyTrip Sales Data:

The online travel insurance aggregator InsureMyTrip.com announced results of its sales data analysis of consumer travelers showing a more cautious, cost-conscious market for 2009 vacations.  InsureMyTrip found the following results in examining its 1st Quarter 2009 sales data versus the same 1st Quarter of 2008.

  • Extended vacations of two to four weeks saw the largest decline at nearly 15%.
  • Trips costing more than $2,000 fell by 25%. Overall, average trip costs decreased 12%.
  • Travel insurance customers are now buying closer to scheduled departure. Insurance is now purchased 62 days before departure, a decrease of 11%.
  • Surveyed consumers said they were insuring 68% of trips lasting eight days or more, but only 30% of week-long trips and 18% of weekend trips. Insurance take-up rises dramatically with the length of the trip.

Jim Grace, the President and CEO of InsureMyTrip.com gave his analysis of the survey.  “Money is tight for a lot of people right now and job security is a concern for some,” said Grace.  “Taking less costly, shorter vacations, holding out for super-saver deals, and making sure that any travels are protected with travel insurance, are practical strategies for dealing with the new ‘normal’ of travel today. We are encouraged to see that people are in fact getting back to traveling and that travel insurance is now a ‘must have’.”

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The Question of the Month: From Tim H.

July 13, 2009

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 How Does Travel Insurance Handle US travel for a Ski Trip And in Particular the Medical Coverage?

A: There are two parts to this answer.  First, the policy itself would function no differently then if the client was traveling internationally.  The coverage is secondary, which means we are still going to cover whatever portion is not covered through their primary insurance provider.  There is a greater possibility that their personal insurance will cover most, if not all, of the medical expense domestically compared to internationally.

Secondly, with specific respect to ski trips there are exclusions in the policy for certain types of extreme and off trail skiing.  These exclusions are detailed in the Description of Coverage.  If your client plans to do one of these types of activities they can purchase the Sports Coverage option for $25 per person and the exclusions will be waived.  The Sports Coverage option also covers pre paid, non-refundable ski passes, ski or equipment rentals, or greens fees.  In addition this option will reimburse for equipment rentals if the client’s own equipment is delayed or misdirected by the Common Carrier.

Do you have a question about policy coverage or how to handle a specific situation?  This is your opportunity to ask the travel insurance experts at Travel Insured.  Email your question to icymrot@travelinsured.com with “Question of the Month” in the subject line.


Air Passengers Can Protect Against Unforeseen Quarantines

July 13, 2009

Trip Interruption:

The U.S. State Department on June 19th published an alert to travelers about possible medical quarantine procedures now being imposed by the Chinese government on some arriving airline passengers to prevent the spread of flu virus. Among those, for example, unexpectedly quarantined in a Beijing hotel for three days in mid-June were New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and his wife, both of whom missed a scheduled meeting. According to the Washington Post, all arriving passengers are being screened in China to see if they exhibit flu-like symptoms. If they do, sick passengers as well as fellow passengers on the same flight can be detained for up to 7 days to make sure the flu virus is not spreading.

Quarantine in China due to the H1N1 virus is no longer ‘unforeseen’ based on the U.S. State Department public announcement of June 19 and, therefore, no longer a covered reason for Trip Interruption coverage in China.

However, Travel Insured customers can be covered up to the Trip Interruption limits specified on their policy when traveling to other destinations, wherever an unforeseen quarantine disrupts their trip.


Uninsured Spa Resort Guest Learns Hard Lesson

July 13, 2009

Getaway Vacation Coverage:

The Baltimore Examiner web site on June 24 recounted the experience of a Houston traveler who booked a weekend resort getaway for two days at The Crossings, a spa resort in nearby Austin billed as “Texas’ Premier Green Spa & Wellness Resort,” with three-day packages costing about $1,000 per person. The traveler, because she was driving on a short-distance weekend trip, chose to travel uninsured.

Unfortunately, the traveler suffered a severe ankle injury on the day before departure, but drove anyway to the resort where her ankle turned “stiff, swollen and blue.” The pain forced her to head home for a doctor after one hour. Her booking was non-refundable.

The Baltimore Examiner’s travel expert Richard Earls, publisher of Travel Research Online, was able to negotiate a refund for the spa resort traveler that would not normally be available to a guest in her situation. Earls wrote her the following advice: “…Travel insurance is an important protection against exactly the type of mishap you experienced. Had you used a good travel agent, I am confident that travel insurance would have been recommended. However, you booked directly with the property online, and I understand that travel agents and travel insurance are seldom top-of-mind considerations when traveling to a destination within driving distance… In the future, give real consideration to a travel agent and an insurance policy, no matter how short a trip to protect your investment.”


Every Travel Insured WTP Plan Includes Commission Protection

July 13, 2009

Agent Support:

Travel agents dealing with this year’s decline in travel prices and the resulting erosion of their commission dollars have reason to protect every dollar they earn. Travel Insured International is a leader in protecting travel agents’ commissions with our inclusion of no-fee travel agent commission protection with every type of Worldwide Trip Protector policy you sell. Agents selling a comprehensive Worldwide Trip Protector or Worldwide Trip Protector Gold plan, or a Worldwide Trip Protector Lite or Lite Expanded plan, have their base travel commission up to 15% protected (Commission Protection is not payable if a claim is paid under Travel Insured’s Cancel for Any Reason benefit or if a claim is paid due to the financial default of an airline, cruise line, tour operator or other travel supplier). There is no up-front fee or back-end reduction.

As a Travel Insured agent partner, you need not worry that a client filing a claim for a covered reason will cost you a travel commission. After the claim is filed, the Travel Insured claims department will gather the needed information and resolve the claim refund that is due your client. Once the claim process is completed you may then file your own agent claim for the commission refund. You will need to document the original booking and the agent commission that you would have been due from the travel supplier had the trip not been cancelled.

As you look for every financial edge in a tough market Travel Insured gives you one to rely upon. Booking a Worldwide Trip Protector gets you valuable agent commission protection without paying extra for it!


Microsoft’s Bing Debuts with Travel Section Online

June 16, 2009

Online Industry News:

Travel agents, whether brick & mortar or home-based, should keep an eye on the latest major online consumer travel search engine. The new service is “Bing” and its owner is Microsoft, which is reportedly spending $100 million to promote it. Just as, like it or not, many consumers find their way to retail travel agents after first doing their own travel research on Google, Microsoft hopes to attract the same consumers to Bing, and its Bing Travel research section. Travel is one of four main components of Bing, the others being health services, local shopping and news. As you begin seeing media advertising about Bing in coming days, you can visit www.bing.com to see what all the fuss is about. You reach the Bing Travel section by clicking the home page on “travel,” but there is not yet any page that comes up from keying the URL Bing Travel, and there has been no word yet on whether Microsoft is planning one for searchers to go directly to the travel section.


Online Commission Statements Begin June 15th

June 16, 2009

Technology Reminder:

Starting this June 15th, and on the 15th of each month thereafter, your monthly commission statement is available to you on demand by visiting the agency side of our web site at www.travelinsured.com. We hope you can join us in helping reduce our carbon footprint. If, however, you are not yet ready to give up your mailed statement, you can still opt to receive it. Here is how to obtain either your online or mailed commission statement.

  1. Log in as usual to the agent side of the web site (www.travelinsured.com) and land on the “Agent Administration” Page.
  2. Go to “Agency Setup.”
  3. If you want to continue receiving the monthly printed commission statement by mail check the box under Agency Setup that says: “I want to receive a paper commission statement.”
  4. If you want to save time and eliminate mail, go to “Commission Statements” below the Agency Setup. You will see your agency name and number. Use the pull down screen to find the month for the statement you request.
  5. Click on “click here” to download a pdf file of your commission statement. We hope you will help us reduce paper mail.