Travel Insurance Trends: A Year in Review and 2017 Predictions
As 2016 comes to a close, it's important to reflect on this year's milestones and accomplishments. CSA Travel Protection, dedicated for 25 years to providing full-service travel insurance solutions, has identified key travel insurance industry trends this past year and predicted what lies ahead.
Travel insurance protects travelers from unexpected events including illness, bad weather and acts of terrorism. Over the last year, current events have shaped the travel insurance landscape. Here is a brief summary:
- Illness: The U.S. Travel Insurance Association (UStiA) issued a press release explaining the relationship between the Zika outbreak and travel insurance. As the press release indicates, travelers must do their homework to determine if their travel insurance would provide coverage for a trip cancelled due to the Zika outbreak.
- Extreme Weather: Although weather events can range from a winter storm to flooding, Hurricane Matthew was an extreme weather phenomenon that affected travelers in 2016. Weather.com recapped Hurricane Matthew's destruction toll. Travelers who bought travel insurance well in advance of Hurricane Matthew could have been covered, but those who purchased policies after the storm had been named probably were not.
- Current Events and Acts of Terrorism: From Brexit to the New York City bombing, there were numerous world events, bombings, shootings, attacks, and acts of terrorism both domestic and abroad in 2016. Frommers.com reported that Brexit meant temporary lower costs for American travelers, which may have encouraged travel to Britain. Travel insurance policies vary in coverages for these types of events. If deemed an "Act of Terrorism," then an event could be covered. Fear of traveling to an area affected by an event may not ensure travel insurance coverage.
"The outcome is that travelers want to know more about travel insurance and what it covers in situations like these. Travel professionals and travel insurance companies are doing more to educate consumers to help them not only feel better protected while they travel, but better understand the protection they have in place," said Bob Chambers, Vice President of Operations at CSA Travel Protection. "This growing awareness may be one reason why travel insurance companies are seeing an uptick in policies sold."
In 2016, CSA Travel Protection reported an increase in travel insurance bookings up nine percent year over year.
2017 and Beyond: Travel Insurance Industry Predictions
While it's difficult to foresee the complete travel insurance landscape for the next few years, CSA Travel Protection expects continued interest from consumers and travel industry professionals, and predicts that travel insurance will remain in high demand.
Technology will continue to be a major focus for the travel insurance industry. CSA Travel Protection is dedicated to finding new ways to make it easier for consumers and travel professionals to connect with CSA when they need to ask questions about their travel insurance plans while on their trip, file a claim and more. With the more than half of all web traffic now occurring in mobile app e-commerce, CSA Travel Protection foresees that mobile technology will definitely expand in the next year or two.
Another area where technology-especially mobile technology-will continue evolving to improve the customer journey is in providing proactive travel assistance. Right now if travelers need help during a trip, they may often be required to notify their insurance company. Technology such as geo smart apps can help insurance companies identify when a traveler is in an area that has been affected by an event or catastrophe and proactively reach out to see if they need help. It can also be used to remind travelers before they depart on their trips about the services available with their travel insurance plans.
Travel insurance and assistance providers can leverage geo smart mobile technology to help travelers when there isn't a crisis as well. For instance, travelers could benefit from a platform that can suggest and make it easy to perform tasks. These could include reserving and possibly insuring additional travel arrangements, purchasing tickets to special events and theme parks and assisting with last-minute itinerary changes like a previously unplanned pit stop while en route from one destination to another.
This is an exciting time for travel insurance companies as they continue finding and developing new and innovative ways to help travelers. And one thing is certain: as long as people travel by air, land or sea and seek the ultimate vacation destinations, they are making a trip investment. Travelers are becoming increasingly aware of unexpected circumstances that can arise during their trip. As a result, they should consider travel insurance from reputable travel insurance providers, such as CSA Travel Protection, to help protect their trip investment.
M Group Strategic Communications (for Generali Global Assistance North America)
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