Mishap Fears Lead to Spurt in Travel Insurance Buys
While insurance usually covers flight delays, baggage loss & medical expenses, covers are subject to change due to newer forms of insurance
Shashi Kiran Shetty, 57, has been travelling abroad frequently for business and leisure for years, but he seldom bothered to take insurance cover for the journey earlier. The disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 changed that forever. Shetty now has all his trips, whether for business or leisure, insured.
“The incident has changed the entire thinking about travelling in an aircraft and it is making people think deeper,” says Shetty.
Following mass mishaps like the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight or natural disasters like the devastating floods in Uttarakhand, travel and insurance companies have seen a big rise in purchase of insurance over the past year.
TrawellTag Cover-More, providers of travel insurance and global assistance, reported an increase in sales of travel insurance immediately after the MH370 went missing. “Cover-More, being the global alliance of Malaysia Airlines and after providing the emergency medical assistance services during the hour of need, witnessed panic purchase that seemed to be initiated by the unwarranted incident,” says Dev Karvat, managing director of the company.
Heightened awareness about benefits of travel insurance, coupled with recent global tragedies that affected travellers, has led to a spike in demand for travel insurance, says Amit Madhan, chief operating officer — IT & E-Services, Thomas Cook India.
While companies had to push insurance cover along with the packages earlier, nowadays it is automatically accepted, says TC Guruprasad, managing director, CentrumDirect, which owns Club7 Holidays.
Travel firm Cox & Kings has seen a growth of more than 200% on overseas travel insurance and 100% on domestic travel insurance in the past one year compared to the past five years.
For travellers going to Europe’s Schengen countries, United States of America, United Kingdom, Dubai, it is mandatory to have travel insurance.
While travel insurance typically covers flight delays, baggage loss and medical expenses, travel companies say with the emergence of newer forms of travel insurance covers are also changing.
Heightened awareness about benefits of travel insurance has led to a spike in demand for travel insurance
“As the reason for travel has expanded, nowadays, people also embark on adventure trips, self-drives, etc. This is driving the consumption of basic as well as evolved premium policies,” says Vishal Suri, chief executive officer — tour operating, Kuoni India. Besides, medical care can be prohibitively expensive overseas. For instance, a person unfortunate enough to be hit with acute appendicitis in the US will be out of pocket by more than .` 2.70 lakh while the most minor of heart attacks suffered there will require at least .` 3.50 lakh in hospitalisation cost. Breaking a leg on a Swiss skiing trip will cost at least .` 1 lakh to put right while a fractured hip in Spain could the visitor back by as much as .` 2.30 lakh depending on the severity of the fracture. A good travel plan safeguards from such emergencies financially, says Naveen Kukreja, chief marketing officer at PolicyBazaar.com. The portal sold over 10,000 policies in 2013 and aims to increase this number to over 30,000 this year.