Berkshire Hathaway Upgrades Travel Insurance Products

by Richard D’Ambrosio
Berkshire Hathaway Upgrades Travel Insurance Products

Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (BHTP) has combined its automatic claim filing and payment features with its most comprehensive travel coverage, making its offerings one of the most robust in the industry.
 
Designed to dramatically reduce or eliminate claim filing and processing, all new BHTP ExactCare products now include expedited claims reimbursement via BHTP Burst – including direct e-payments to a PayPal account, or payment via debit card into a specified account.
 
The company calls the new plans ExactCare Value and ExactCare Extra, and also has made enhancements to its existing ExactCare product. The new ExactCare Extra plan also includes real-time flight tracking, a popular feature first introduced in 2014 with BHTP’s AirCare product.
 
“Travel agents now have something different to offer their clients – something that includes what we’re calling ‘no receipts needed’ fixed benefits,” said Dean Sivley, BHTP president.
 
According to the American Society of Travel Agents’ recently released national consumer study, 36% of Americans worry about flight delays, 34% fear getting sick on a trip, and 25% fear losing their luggage. But BHTP research shows that only 25-28% of consumers eligible for travel insurance buy it, Sivley said. The enhancements to BHTP’s plans are designed to convince more consumers to do so.
 
In an interview during a Manhattan media tour, Sivley labeled the new suite of plans “good, better and different. Our top-tier offering is ‘different’ in that it not only provides the highest coverage limits from BHTP, it also integrates our innovative fixed benefits, making it the broadest travel insurance option in the U.S.”
 
Sivley believes selling the new products will show consumers how agents offer higher value by recommending BHTP products.
 
Agents selling this product have the biggest spectrum possible of options, from lowest costs, to higher value.
 
Sivley also discussed the general state of the travel insurance industry, and described his view of how BHTP, a relative new entrant, is doing. “We’ve had a good start to the year. We’re seeing better growth,” he said. “Our number of accounts is higher. People are traveling.”
 
Part of the company’s robust sales are a result of the most recent spate of terrorist events. “Historically, whenever there is an event, the next two to three months we experience a higher penetration of sales. But it always tends to go back to the norm after that period. We think part of the growth in travel insurance sales recently is that travel is higher. We’re seeing growth in the frequency of trips by people looking to buy travel insurance.”
 
Travel agents have been hearing about the new offerings for about a month, Sivley said. Training on the new products started last week, and BHTP is offering online training materials and tutorials. “It’s a busy time for our sales team,” he said.
 
Looking to the future, Sivley said BHTP is looking at creating more customized insurance plans for tour operators with niche travel products. “For example, we may let an adventure tour package company add a number of riders with insurance coverage relevant to their customers,” he said.
 
BHTP might also begin offering insurance for event tickets, another new avenue for sales that agents are increasingly taking advantage of recently. Thousands of travelers failed to receive the food, lodging and recreation they paid $4,000 for at the FYRE music festival in the Bahamas earlier this year.
 
“We’ve tried to make our state filings as modular as possible, so we could make it easier to add new innovative coverage,” he said.
Sivley also is certain BHTP will be offering travel insurance in Canada before the end of the year.
 
  0
  0
Tip of the Day
Daily Top List

Five Best Travel Destinations to Visit Between Seasons

1. Zambia

2. Fiji

3. Rome

4. Hawaii

5. Niagara

Source: GQ

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=01e53f1d-84ba-e811-ba59-782bcb66a2f2

Here Are the ABCs of Guided Independent Travel

It's not escorted and it's not independent travel, so what's the lowdown on this increasingly popular guided independent travel segment?

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Majority of Americans Plan to Work with a Travel Agent
Majority of Americans Plan to Work with a Travel Agent

AAA study reveals that 75 percent of Americans will utilize the services of a travel professional to plan their vacations over the next year, with Millennials just as likely as Boomers to do so.

Tapping into Your Clients’ Style Sense Can Improve Your Hotel Bookings
Tapping into Your Clients’ Style Sense Can Improve Your Hotel Bookings

As independent boutique hotels and soft lodging brands proliferate, more travelers are inspired to redesign their homes after returning from a vacation. For travel agents, that’s an opportunity to create greater customer loyalty.

How One Traveler Became a Loyal Travel Agent Client
How One Traveler Became a Loyal Travel Agent Client

Heather Speizman booked direct with airlines and hotels, or through online travel agencies—until she met Anastasia Damianeas.

Harley Davidson’s Ken Schmidt Offers Advice for Travel Agents
Harley Davidson’s Ken Schmidt Offers Advice for Travel Agents

‘If the people you are serving aren’t telling others about what you are doing for them, you are not competing. And they are not coming back,’ says the turnaround artist who brought Harley from the brink of bankruptcy.

When Travel Plans Changed, Industry Veteran’s Knowledge Saved Him Money
When Travel Plans Changed, Industry Veteran’s Knowledge Saved Him Money

Jim Smith has more than 45 years in the travel industry. That experience came in handy when an online hotel booking had to be canceled.

Agents Play Key Role in Steering LGBTQ Clients Right
Agents Play Key Role in Steering LGBTQ Clients Right

While travel agents should familiarize themselves with a destination’s laws and prevailing attitudes toward the LGBTQ community before booking a trip for gay and lesbian clients, there are other factors to consider. Part two of a two-part series.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Norwegian Cruise Line