With travel predicted to rebound, health and safety is at the front of many clients’ minds. Here are four tips to address adequate insurance coverage.
Around the globe, most countries still have coronavirus pandemic travel restrictions or compulsory quarantine rules for travelers. As vaccination efforts continue and the threat of COVID-19 decreases in many countries, agents have a responsibility to ensure their customers are protected in the imminent travel boom.
People will start to travel again to other countries with many signs pointing to a quick rebound for travel in 2021. Whether on holiday, extended travel, or relocating, health and safety is now at the forefront of customers' minds, especially given the spiraling situation in India and the spread of new COVID-19 variants.
Here are some tips for agents when addressing international travel with clients.
1) Offer as much medical cover as possible. Most insurers now offer COVID-19 coverage but some will not protect customers from the full range of possible coronavirus-related incidents.
Still, some insurers' health coverage is significantly more comprehensive than others and these should be front of mind when planning travel in 2021. As an agent, those that offer the most comprehensive coverage, including COVID-19, medical evacuation, and repatriation will be in an optimal position to land the business.
2) Communicate clearly to cut through any confusion. Insurance agents have a challenge ahead with a variety of new measures to navigate, often differing by geographic location.
Many uncertainties look set to affect business travelers when traveling internationally. The current inconsistency in terms of rules, regulations and paperwork required means that travelers will demand greater clarity and communication at all stages of the travel process, including what type of insurance to purchase.
Advice for customers should be clear and accurate, with the purchasing process starting well in advance of travel to allow time to navigate these changing requirements and avoid any stressful situations.
3) Be proactive with reaching out to all existing policyholders. Customer retention is important and communicating with existing policyholders is key to retaining their business. In particular, expatriates that lived in a foreign country when the pandemic erupted might be unsure whether their current global health insurance plan covers COVID-19.
Similarly, those who are only now planning to move abroad are certainly wondering whether the costs related to COVID-19 will be covered in their health insurance policy, and if yes, to what capacity? This is one of the most common questions we get from our clients at International Citizens Insurance: “Is coronavirus covered in a global health plan?"
Some plans are comprehensive, and some have exclusions. Therefore, the best solution is to be open and transparent with your customer base and provide them with this information as soon as possible.
4) Highlight the importance of travel insurance. The uncertainty that has accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of travel insurance. With health, safety, and rapidly changing conditions more prominent in people's minds, the pandemic has already changed international travel and will need to be reflected in the insurance products offered.
Joe Cronin is president of International Citizens Insurance.