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’.”


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!


Agent Writer Frenaye Recommends TII to Examiner Readers

June 16, 2009

Consumer Advisory:

Travel agent writer and columnist John Frenaye, president of JVE Group and Single Parent Travel, posted his most recent article on travel insurance (“Travel Insurance: Just the FAQs”) in the Baltimore Examiner web site on May 27. Asking in his article, “who are the good insurers?” Frenaye recommends Travel Insured International on his short list of companies. He notes that Travel Insured is among those insurers that have “been around for a long time and are very good with settling claims….These insurers are long standing preferred suppliers to some of the largest travel companies.”

Drawing on his extensive agency experience, Frenaye points out several other travel insurance tips:

  • On the importance of a travel agent: “Ask your travel professional to review the benefits of all policies for you if you are unsure.”
  • On estimating how much insurance will cost: “Not nearly as much as it will cost if you need it and don’t have it.”
  • On travel suppliers’ own “waivers:” “A trip cancellation waiver usually allows you to cancel your trip for any reason…and receive a full or partial refund, sometimes in funny money to be used with the travel supplier within one year.”

Remind clients that 3rd– party travel insurance is regulated by state insurance rules, an important measure for judging its financial reliability.


Travel Insured’s Herlihy: “Offer Insurance or You’ll Never Sell It”

June 16, 2009

Home-Based Agent Expo:

“If you offer it, you’ll get it. If you don’t offer it, you’ll never get a sale.”
This piece of travel insurance sales advice, along with several others, was offered by Kevin Herlihy, Travel Insured International’s Director of National Accounts, on a panel called “And Remember to Sell…” at the Virtual Home-Based Agent Expo. The event, hosted by Performance Media Group and its publication Travel Pulse online, is available on demand through Sept. 2, 2009. The Home-Based Agent Expo, including a virtual tradeshow, was originally presented online on June 2nd and 3rd.

You can view the panel, hosted by Travel Pulse editor James Shillinglaw. Other panelists discussing with Herlihy the high-commission travel products that agents can sell to serve their clients and support their bottom line are Peter Rahaman, Vice President of Sales at Rail Europe and Joseph Maniscalco, Vice President of Sales for Auto Europe.

In recommending travel insurance for bankruptcy protection, Herlihy noted the uncertain economy and remarked, “No one knows the finances of any supplier at this time.” The Travel Insured director added in an exchange with moderator Shillinglaw that “All of our programs, except WTP Lite, protect against default. As long as you purchase a plan within 14 days [of initial trip deposit] we protect against default.” When asked if “that is the difference between insuring with you and insuring directly with a supplier,” Herlihy responded, “That is a correct statement.”

To see more of the Virtual Home-Based Agent Expo, visit www.virtualhomebasedexpo.com. Click on the red “click here” link near the top right to enter the show directory and select programs for viewing.