In­creas­ing need for travel in­sur­ance

With the grow­ing im­por­tance of opt­ing for an in­sur­ance while trav­el­ling abroad, the travel in­sur­ance mar­ket is show­ing pos­i­tive growth, rid­ing on the up­ward swing within the global tourism in­dus­try.

TravTalk - Middle East - - TRAVEL INSURANCE -

In­dus­try ex­perts fore­cast a strong growth for the travel in­sur­ance in­dus­try. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port pub­lished by Al­lied Mar­ket Re­search, ti­tled, ‘Travel In­sur­ance Mar­ket by In­sur­ance Cover, Dis­tri­bu­tion Chan­nel, Users, Ge­og­ra­phy - Global Op­por­tu­nity Anal­y­sis and In­dus­try Fore­cast, 2014-2022,’ the travel in­sur­ance sec­tor is ex­pected to gen­er­ate $28,264 mil­lion by 2022, grow­ing at a CAGR of 8.5 per cent dur­ing 2016-2022. Euro­pean na­tions and coun­tries in the Asia Pa­cific re­gion have shown most growth for this sec­tor due to fac­tors such as rise in the num­ber of se­nior cit­i­zen trav­ellers, and an in­crease in busi­ness travel ex­pen­di­ture.

How­ever, the prime fac­tor driv­ing this growth is an in­crease in tourism. Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est UNWTO World Tourism Barom­e­ter, de­mand for in­ter­na­tional tourism re­mained ro­bust in 2016 de­spite chal­lenges. In­ter­na­tional tourist ar­rivals grew by 3.9 per cent to reach a to­tal of 1,235 mil­lion. Some 46 mil­lion more tourists (overnight vis­i­tors) trav­elled in­ter­na­tion­ally last year com­pared to 2015, and this was de­spite is­sues linked to safety and se­cu­rity. UNWTO also projects in­ter­na­tional tourist ar­rivals world­wide to grow at a rate of 3 to 4 per cent in 2017. These num­bers bode well for the travel in­sur­ance sec­tor.

De­mand on the rise

As peo­ple travel more, the rel­e­vance of travel pro­tec­tion is steadily gain­ing ground, with more travel man­age­ment com­pa­nies, on­line plat­forms as well as air­lines are cater­ing to the needs of their clients. Ari­jit

Mun­shi, Gen­eral Man­ager, Tune Pro­tect, EMEIA, on­line fa­cil­i­ta­tor of travel in­sur­ance in col­lab­o­ra­tion with var­i­ous lo­cal in­sur­ance com­pa­nies in the re­gion, says, “Travel man­age­ment com­pa­nies and air­lines in­clud­ing cruise lin­ers and des­ti­na­tion man­age­ment com­pa­nies want to en­sure that their clients travel with peace of mind and are cov­ered for any un­fore­seen sit­u­a­tion, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to health, and want to of­fer ad­di­tional ben­e­fits through the travel in­sur­ance pro­gram such as flight de­lays, flight can­cel­la­tion, bag­gage de­lays, etc.

“Ex­pat hubs around the world are be­gin­ning to re­quire manda­tory health in­sur­ance be­fore is­su­ing a visa, and more and more coun­tries are de­cid­ing to refuse en­try without it. Many trav­ellers don’t re­al­ize that without the cor­rect in­sur­ance, they could be turned away from the des­ti­na­tion they are vis­it­ing be­fore they make it past air­port ar­rivals. Apart from the EU coun­tries which are man­dat­ing for all vis­i­tors to have a valid travel med­i­cal in­sur­ance, other coun­tries which re­quire a valid travel med­i­cal cover are Cuba, Turkey, Ge­or­gia and even Antarc­tica. And now more coun­tries are eval­u­at­ing the need for a med­i­cal travel cover.”

Mun­shi adds that travel in­sur­ance has be­come one of the key value of­fer­ings par­tic­u­larly for travel man­age­ment com­pa­nies, B2C on­line book­ing plat­forms or en­ablers and air­lines to en­sure trav­ellers are bet­ter aware and can fa­cil­i­tate the ad­di­tional cover, be it for leisure, ad­ven­ture or busi­ness travel.

Cus­tomised so­lu­tions

Travel in­sur­ance prod­ucts are con­stantly evolv­ing to meet needs of dif­fer­ent kinds of trav­ellers. “Noth­ing is more dis­con­cert­ing than learn­ing that a client en­coun­tered med­i­cal or lo­gis­ti­cal mishaps while trav­el­ing, or that they had to can­cel a trip due to an emer­gency,” says Lu­cian Ale, Head of Prod­ucts and Op­er­a­tions, Sabre Travel Net­work, Mid­dle East.

“The travel pro­tec­tion in­dus­try is evolv­ing, al­low­ing us to of­fer in­no­va­tive and cre­ative so­lu­tions to meet cus­tomers’ needs, more prod­uct features and guar­an­tees for both travel fa­cil­i­ta­tors or en­ablers and trav­ellers. Look­ing to­wards the fu­ture, the leisure sec­tor holds tremen­dous op­por­tu­ni­ties. We be­lieve travel pro­tec­tion to be one of those con­sid­er­able rev­enue op­por­tu­ni­ties for both, us as well as travel man­age­ment com­pa­nies. Travel in­sur­ance is in its in­fancy stage in the Mid­dle East, but holds great prom­ise,” he sug­gests.

Ale adds that in an evolv­ing in­dus­try, it’s all about ser­vice and prod­uct dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion. “Sabre Travel Net­work is ded­i­cated to pro­vid­ing travel agents with the tools needed to suc­ceed and stand out among the rest. And travel pro­tec­tion is not any dif­fer­ent. We stress upon the 3 Ps of Travel Pro­tec­tion to agents; show your Pro­fes­sion­al­ism, Pro­tec­tion for cus­tomers’ financial in­vest­ments and va­ca­tion plans, and Prof­itabil­ity max­i­miza­tion of ev­ery book­ing. Our Travel Pro­tec­tion tool is fully in­te­grated within the Sabre Red Workspace with an en­hanced graph­i­cal travel in­sur­ance book­ing tool fea­tur­ing pre­ferred sup­pli­ers.” Ale adds.

A di­ver­si­fied port­fo­lio

On­line Travel in­sur­ance fa­cil­i­ta­tor, Tune Pro­tect, EMEIA, have cus­tomised their port­fo­lio to serve a wide range of trav­ellers. Mun­shi says, “We have done ex­ten­sive re­search based on trav­ellers’ feed­back as well as feed­back given by travel man­age­ment com­pa­nies, on­line B2C plat­forms, en­ablers and air­lines to come up with a host of cover­age for var­i­ous types of trav­ellers. Apart from the stan­dard EU Travel In­sur­ance re­quire­ments, we have come up with a va­ri­ety of plans such as Life­style As­sur­ance -cov­er­ing a host of spe­cific ac­tiv­i­ties such as shop­ping or for win­ter or ski des­ti­na­tion lovers, golf en­thu­si­ast as well as ad­ven­ture junkies. In Jan­uary 2017, for a trek or­gan­ised by Ilovead­ven­ture­travel.com to Kil­i­man­jaro, all the trekkers had travel and med­i­cal cover­age fa­cil­i­tated by Tune Pro­tect, EMEIA.

“Within the Mid­dle East re­gion, ap­prox. 46 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion are ex­pats. And this leads to in­bound tourism both for leisure, hol­i­day mak­ers as well as vis­i­tors vis­it­ing fam­ily or friends. Such as health in­sur­ance has be­come manda­tory for vis­i­tors en­ter­ing the UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, etc.) and every­one ap­ply­ing for a visit or tourist visa needs to have proof of cover­age, re­gard­less of the na­tion­al­ity, age or gen­der. For this seg­ment, Tune Pro­tect, EMEIA in col­lab­o­ra­tion with lo­cal in­sur­ance com­pa­nies has de­vised the Visit As­sur­ance Pro­gram.

“Leisure or cor­po­rate trav­ellers of­ten pay for non-re­fund­able ho­tel, air­line or even cruise pack­ages. A ded­i­cated plan, Travel Can­cel­la­tion, was also launched to cover last minute travel can­cel­la­tion due to can­cel­la­tions for in­sur­able rea­sons to cover the non-re­fund­able por­tion of the var­i­ous travel com­po­nents,” he adds

Cor­po­rate or busi­ness trav­ellers can ben­e­fit from the Travel Easy prod­uct, which cover travel de­lays, bag­gage de­lay and bag­gage loss or dam­age. All the of the above prod­ucts can be combined for a trav­eller, be it trav­el­ling to a EU or a non-EU coun­try, to en­sure var­i­ous types of trav­ellers can travel with peace of mind, Mun­shi ob­serves.

Travel man­age­ment com­pa­nies and air­lines in­clud­ing cruise lin­ers, des­ti­na­tion man­age­ment com­pa­nies, travel man­age­ment com­pa­nies, want to en­sure that their clients travel with peace of mind and are cov­ered for any un­fore­seen sit­u­a­tion, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to health, and want to of­fer ad­di­tional ben­e­fits through the travel in­sur­ance pro­gram such as flight de­lays, flight can­cel­la­tion, bag­gage de­lays, etc.

Above all tech­nol­ogy has be­come a key driver for all travel in­sur­ance providers and have con­tin­ued to im­prove their tech­nol­ogy to pro­vide bet­ter ease of pur­chase as well as cus­tomer ser­vice

Ari­jit Mun­shi The travel pro­tec­tion in­dus­try is evolv­ing, al­low­ing us to of­fer in­no­va­tive and cre­ative so­lu­tions to meet cus­tomers’ needs, more prod­uct features and guar­an­tees for both travel fa­cil­i­ta­tors or en­ablers and trav­ellers. We be­lieve travel pro­tec­tion to be one of those con­sid­er­able rev­enue op­por­tu­ni­ties. Travel in­sur­ance is in its in­fancy in the Mid­dle East, but holds great prom­ise

Lu­cian Ale

such as ef­fi­cient cus­tomer re­sponses and user-friendly web­sites, sup­port­ing on­line en­ablers such as Sabre Travel Net­work and Dis­tri­bu­tion plat­forms or on­line en­ablers. Fac­tors such as these have al­ready started push­ing the im­por­tance and growth of the sec­tor in 2017 and be­yond.

Ari­jit Mun­shi

Gen­eral Man­ager Tune Pro­tect, EMEIA

Lu­cian Ale

Head of Prod­ucts and Op­er­a­tions, Sabre Travel Net­work, Mid­dle East

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