The Importance of Offering Travel Insurance to Groups  

Part Two of a two-part series on group travel.

As we discussed last week, Group Travel is a very fruitful niche, but it’s also a complicated niche. As a Group Travel Counselor, you need to be familiar with all the components of group travel. This includes being familiar with travel insurance for groups.

Group travel insurance differs from individual policies and is more critical because chances are higher something will happen when there are multiple people traveling together.

Richard D’Ambrosio recently wrote a great article in Travel Market Report titled Offering Travel Insurance to Groups Can Boost an Agent’s Income. In addition to showcasing the great opportunity for travel advisors to earn commissions on travel protection coverage plans, he covered two additional areas we want to share with you.

Added layer of protection

[Offering travel insurance provides an] added layer of protection the agent sells in for the entire group.

“The dynamics of group travel, especially the impact on everyone if something goes wrong with just one traveler, makes travel protection an ideal offering for group trips,” said Isaac Cymrot, vice president, industry relations, at Travel Insured International.

“It’s really important. I have never had a big group where something hasn’t happened,” said Carol Rowland, CTC, principal and director of tour operations, at Recess 4 Grownups Travel, in Atlanta, Georgia. Rowland books 2-3 groups a year on average and has five coming up in 2020.

On a trip with 20 travelers last year, “one of the ladies, three days before leaving, fell and fractured her nose and couldn’t go. Something always happens to somebody,” Rowland said. Three years ago, before a Holy Land trip, five members of one group canceled during the final weeks before departure, she said.

Group plans typically require a minimum of 10 insured travelers who have a common destination and travel dates. Individual travelers looking to add on a few days before or after the trip also can purchase under the group’s plan.

Companies like Travel Insured have group sales and servicing teams that work with travel agents specializing in groups, as well as small tour operators. They will provide a variety of marketing support, including co-branded materials that agents and pied pipers can use during presentations, or attach to their group travel registration websites.

Travel Insured also has a compliance team to review regulatory issues. “We recommend that any advisor take advantage of them through their account management team, to review their materials to ensure that their marketing fits the group’s needs and is in compliance,” Cymrot said.

The same, but different

For the most part, group travel insurance offers the same coverage at about the same price (6%-7% of the total trip cost) of individual plans, with some variations. The biggest difference is that the age of a traveler has no material impact on their premium price or coverage.

“For seniors, Baby Boomers, very often they can find the group travel plan is more cost-effective than pricing out an individual plan,” said Stan Sandberg, co-founder of TravelInsurance.com, an online insurance aggregator.

This is big for Rowland, who specializes in religious heritage tours that tend to attract older clients.

Second, as long as a traveler purchases travel protection before their final payment, companies like Travel Insured will cover pre-existing conditions. (Arch RoamRight covers pre-existing conditions in group plans, as long as coverage is purchased within 21 days of the first trip payment.)

Because not all of an agent’s group will sign up on the same day, make their payments on the same schedule, etc., “a group plan will accommodate bringing people onboard at different times. That makes it easier for the tour leader to administer,” Sandberg said.

Additionally, some group plans will allow travelers to purchase medical and damaged/lost baggage coverage right up to date of departure.

This excerpt from D’Ambrosio’s article demonstrates the importance of being mindful of offering insurance to your next group. As a travel professional, your job is to offer your clients the best experience, which also means protecting them. To read the entire article in Travel Market Report, click here.

And, if you missed yesterday’s webinar, Build a Bigger, Better Group Business in 15 Steps by Stuart L. Cohen, MCC, you can view it by going to The Travel Institute’s Premium Access Lounge.