In what it calls an industry first, AIG Travel is introducing customizable and niche Travel Guard insurance products in response to travel agent input about customer needs.
“With our new innovations, we’re able to customize a specific plan for the travel agency partner’s clientele around different benefits and limits,” said Scott Adamski, senior vice president of sales for AIG Travel.
The new products, which so far have been approved by insurance regulators in 31 states, represent a major departure from the set plans typically offered by travel insurance providers, he said.
Under the program, the AIG Travel sales staff will work with individual agencies to customize a portfolio of benefits and pricing suited to the agency’s clientele. “Once we work with the travel agency to establish this program, it’s something they can sell to all clients. Agents don’t have to customize for each client,” Adamski said.
Travel Guard customizable insurance products are designed to address issues not typically covered by traditional travel insurance.
As an example, on a river cruise, the ship might not be able to get through a passage because of high or low water, so you have to be escorted by bus. AIG is offering a benefit that would cover that in case of trip cancellation and interruption.
“Let’s say that leg of a $5,000 trip is $500, that’s what you’re going to be out. If you had that coverage, you would have protection for that,” Adamski said.
Other optional benefits that can be built into Travel Guard customizable policies include “name your own family member,” an enhanced trip cancellation coverage that allows travelers to name non-family members whose illness or death would cause them to cancel travel plans. A similar option is available for pets.
Another new optional benefit is coverage for evacuations when security issues arise in a destination.
Niche insurance products
In tandem with its new customized insurance offering, and to streamline the process for agents, AIG Travel is developing niche travel insurance products in areas such as cruise, tour, adventure and air-only.
“The cruise marketplace is where we see the most potential, because of the unique challenges that come as a result of being on a cruise ship,” Adamski said.
AIG Travel is also working on a niche product for destination weddings that would include trip cancellation coverage for guests when the wedding couple gets cold feet at the last minute or calls off their marriage for some other reason. “We’ve heard from our travel agent partners that it would be great if we could do this,” he said.
New ‘inconvenience benefits’
Another new offering are “inconvenience benefits.” This enhancement provides set benefit amounts for travel inconveniences such as hotel bed bugs, beach and attraction closures, or being stranded on the tarmac for an extended period of time.
“It’s not that these situations will cancel your trip––it’s more an inconvenience––and we will pay a benefit of a set amount if you incur one of these situations,” Adamski said.
AIG Travel will work with travel agencies to custom-bundle inconvenience benefits suited to their clientele.
AIG Travel is currently testing its customizable and niche travel insurance products with selected individual agencies, Adamski said.
Existing off-the-shelf Travel Guard insurance plans––Silver, Gold and Platinum––will continue to be available. “This is a way to enhance the offer you make to your customers,” Adamski said.