The Ins and Outs of Selling Travel Insurance

by Daniel McCarthy
The Ins and Outs of Selling Travel Insurance

The panel speaking at Travel MarketPlace. Photo: Dan Galbraith/Details Group


Travel insurance is a high-ticket item for travel agents, and not enough of them are taking full advantage of its impact on their bottom line, according to industry experts speaking at this year’s Travel MarketPlace Conference in Vancouver.

In a panel moderated by Travel Market Report’s Richard D’Ambrosio, travel insurance professionals from some of the largest insurance companies in North America spoke about what it takes to make “the kind of sale that makes you the best dollars,” D’Ambrosio said.

Stop using 'insurance' and start using 'protection'
While the industry term for the program that provides security for a vacation investment is largely “insurance,” that’s not the best term to use when trying to market it to clients.

“Some of the best sellers I’m seeing now are doing a quality control check, saying I’ve seen your file and notice that you're leaving on your vacation soon and I see that you didn’t purchase travel ‘protection,'” said Allianz Business Development Manager Robert Cole.

For some travelers, the word “insurance” can be easily passed over and ignored — a term that the most successful agents have stayed away from by using the word “protection” instead. That change gives travelers a better, more tangible understanding of what exactly their purchase of insurance is doing — providing a protection for the money they’ve invested in their vacation.

Just that small change has seen big results for some of the agents Allianz works with, Cole said.

Pitch once and then pitch again…and then again
“The consumer is starting to understand the need for travel insurance. Our job is to really educate the travel agents about how to get that across to the consumer,” said Cole. “How often do you market travel insurance to your customers? What I see is that in marketing that is done by the distribution channel, they really hammer the clients about purchasing and they have campaigns structured to get the consumer to buy travel insurance,” which is something agents need to start doing.

One agent that works with Daina Gasner, the product and support manager for Travel Masters, puts a disclaimer on every single booking to tell clients to look at the options — which she said has been effective.

“If you mention it every single time, you’re going to get sales,” Gasner said.

“The conversation is to protect that cost and expense, but life can happen no matter where you are. We are not talking about small dollars … there have been enough news articles here in British Columbia over the last 12 months, and that’s exactly the reason why,” said Adrian Bois, director of individual plans at Blue Cross Pacific.

“People are stuck in the hospital in the U.S., and bills are astronomical. And that can happen to anybody,” he added.

Embrace new challenges
One of the challenges that come with an increasingly crowded travel insurance market, is the new number of options that agents have to be educated about.

“There’s a lot of knowledge of the product itself … but they don’t necessarily see themselves as sales people. There’s a challenge as far as what clients make of the expectation of travel insurance, and the reality of it,” said Gasner.

All panelists agreed that agents need to be engaged and really understand the options and what’s in it for their clients.

“It’s constantly trying to translate the difficult nature of insurance into a layperson's understanding. That’s the challenge for everybody,” even the insurance companies — and it’s one that the industry and its partners are going to have to manage going forward. 

Take advantage of the change in snowbirds
It was also noted during the insurance session at the conference that, for a while, snowbirds from Canada and the U.S. would head to warmer locals like Florida, Arizona, and the Caribbean to spend their winter months away from the cold. But that’s changing, according to Ryan Beaulieu, vice president of Travel Guardian and AwayCare.

“They are not going six months to Florida anymore. They are going to Europe, they are going to Australia, and it does change our market a little bit more,” he said.

  0
  0
TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Travel Impressions Launches Perks Program

Travel advisors can offer their clients exclusive privileges, at no additional cost, to make their vacations extra special.

Here Are the U.S. Airports with the Shortest and Longest Wait Times at Security

The airport with the shortest security wait time averages about nine minutes, while the one with the longest wait time averages over 20 minutes.

The Travel Corporation Launches New Multi-Brand Loyalty Program

The program helps agents reward loyal customers with a 5% discount on all of the TTC brands — Trafalgar, Costsaver, Insight, Luxury Gold, Uniworld, U River Cruises, and Contiki.

AmaWaterways Rolls Out New Webinar Series for Travel Advisors

Webinar Wednesdays are designed to provide advisors with essential knowledge about its cruise products and tips on attracting new-to-river-cruise luxury clients.

Bahamas' Warwick Resort Offers Agents Third Night Free

Agent rates at the all-inclusive resort start from $280 per room per night.

Amadeus Launches Updated Version of Web Service with NDC

The company’s latest version of its web services solution, Amadeus Travel API, will provide travel agencies with worldwide access to new content and fares through NDC.

News Briefs
Tip of the Day

As travel advisors, we have to be curious. Curiosity leads to impactful connections that pave our road to success. - Jenn Lee, VP of Sales and Marketing, Travel Planners International

Daily Top List

U.S. Airports with Shortest Security Wait Times

1. Salt Lake City International

2. Washington Dulles International

3. Boston Logan International

4. Minneapolis-St. Paul International

5. Charlotte Douglas International

Source: TMR

TMR Outlooks