Taking to skies in a post COVID-19 world

As domestic and international travel become accessible again, travel insurance will undoubtedly need to adjust to meet consumer expectations

Written on 14 April, 2021
Tanaya Das

As we begin to see travel bubbles, borders start to open and both domestic and international travel become accessible again, travel insurance will undoubtedly need to adjust to meet consumer expectations.

Gallagher Bassett’s Senior Business Development Manager, Jason Allison said, “We understandably saw much frustration and negative sentiment towards insurers as we all battled to deal with the challenges wrought by the pandemic. Now, with the New Zealand travel bubble due to open and domestic travel stabilising, insureds will be looking for brokers who can truly commit to covering their post-COVID-19 requirements, while remaining flexible and adaptable.”

Allison expects that travel insurance will need to be both more flexible and have clear, transparent coverage, as to minimise insureds misunderstanding or poor perception of what they’re protected for.

It is important for brokers to have exhaustive conversations with their clients about business travel. They should be having clear, open conversations with their clients around their internal business travel processes, requirements and adaptability. Allison believes that brokers should consider how they can best support clients to make a well-thought decision on the necessity of business travel, “Intermediaries need to ensure their clients understand what they’re covered for and have thoroughly worked through the myriad of challenges that may impact business travel, and how they would be protected by their policy.”

“As we start to explore the New Zealand travel bubble, brokers should be ensuring their clients understand how these additional risks may or may not be covered. Brokers will also need to consider that travel wordings may only cover claimants for additional and/or curtailment costs in scenarios that could not have been reasonably foreseen. In the current environment, insurers may deem that COVID-related lockdowns would not be considered unforeseen and as such additional costs incurred will be out of pocket expenses for the Insured.”

The five things that insurance brokers should know about travel risks and claims processing according to Allison are:

1. Insurance brokers need to be ahead of the game when it comes to border closures, travel restrictions and regional COVID responses. They need to have a clear understanding of each nation and state’s hotspot or travel restriction system, as well as stay abreast of COVID alerts in relevant regions for their clients. This can ensure they notify clients of risks early on in the piece, before they become an issue.
2. While we are living in a relatively COVID-free world here in Australia, brokers need to be ready to adjust and adapt at any given moment. Corporate insureds will demand flexibility from their broker as they begin to navigate a world they no longer have as much control over. The risks have now changed from an employee or insured missing their flight due to a delayed
meeting or traffic, to employees being caught in mandated hotel quarantine – or worse, unwell with COVID-19 due to travelling for work.
3. When it comes time to claiming, responsiveness is key to protecting and defending your brand. If you can’t respond to an insured in an appropriate timeframe, or with an appropriate solution, you are risking their retention.
4. Your claims processing must be slick, polished and bespoke. Whether your insured is dealing with a COVID-19 related business travel impact, or other challenge, you will maintain and retain their business by demonstrating a thorough understanding of their organisation, their unique risks and what their insureds require when it comes to business travel.
5. Trust is critical. You can have access to the newest and brightest technology or policy, but without building trust with your insureds that you understand the environment their business travel demands now face, you will be behind the eight ball.