Even the best-laid plans can go awry when the unexpected happens. Travel insurance can help your clients protect their valuable trip investment and provide many important benefits. While some other insurance programs—through suppliers and credit cards—may include trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage, you always should review the options with your clients.
Travel insurance moved to the forefront during the pandemic and continues to be important. If you are unsure how to explain the options, effectively offer travel insurance or overcome objections, be sure to enroll in our Certified Travel Associate (CTA®) program. This certification course contains in-depth education in 15 practical and professional skill areas—including a separate Travel Insurance module.
For insights into the benefits of offering travel insurance to new and former clients and learn how it can enhance their travel experience, register for the webinar How to Re-engage Your Past Clients with Travel Insurance, presented TODAY at noon (EST) by Grant Hayes, Director of International Sales for International Medical Group Inc.
The following tips were extracted from the Travel Insurance module of the CTA program:
Before you start to quote pricing to your U.S. clients, it’s important to understand that clients must have the option to OPT IN to insurance, and it can never be part of the total trip cost. Therefore, travel agents who have been offering travel insurance for a while have learned a few tips on the best way to offer this product. As you plan your strategy for adding travel insurance to your product line, consider the following tactics that have worked well for others before you.
- Suggest insurance with every vacation you plan.
- Based on the discussion you have with your client and communication with your preferred insurance company, calculate the cost of the desired insurance policy your client would need.
- Include the opt-in insurance price as you discuss the total cost of the trip. (For example: “Mr. Jones, the cost of your trip is $xxx. If you’d like to opt in, the travel insurance price per person is an additional $xxx. How would you like to pay for that?”)
- Stress the value of an insurance purchase, such as high levels of protection, low cost, and the peace of mind that the consumer has protected his or her vacation investment.
- If the insurance is declined, have the client sign a travel insurance waiver form. By doing this, you are offering the insurance for a second time and requiring them to sign off on their decision. You also are protecting yourself from possible liability issues.
- Use your travel insurance partner’s website as a resource. Let your clients call the insurer directly to ask questions. The insurer’s representatives can help close the sale.
- Be sure to email quotes directly from the travel insurance provider’s website. This will help guarantee that product and pricing information is accurate.
In addition, agents who are successful suggest that you find a travel insurance provider who will truly be a partner, who provides a clear understanding of the insurance products you will be offering, and with whom you feel comfortable regarding the value insurance adds. Be very certain you ask customers to decline insurance in writing. If they must cancel and face strict penalties, you want to have proof that you or your agency offered the insurance. Be certain your agents do not present themselves as experts on insurance or give answers to clients’ questions.
Provide a recurring training program on how to offer insurance and make the training part of every new hire’s introduction to your agency. Most agents give a general explanation of insurance coverage based on their training, but you should caution them against giving any detailed or specific advice. Share with your customers the insurance provider’s toll-free help line or website for answers to specific questions. You also may want to link to your suppliers’ website.
Training sessions, offered by most insurance companies, are essential for the success of offering insurance to your clients. They are not designed to turn travel counselors into insurance agents but do provide a basic understanding of the products and covered features. These sessions can take the form of on-site training, phone, or online training. Sales increase when travel counselors are confident in the product they are offering.
Tell your clients you strongly recommend that they purchase travel insurance for their protection. Cancellation penalties are very steep for cruise lines and tour operators. Your clients’ vacation is an investment, and travel insurance will help protect them against unforeseen circumstances that include accident, illness, or a death in the family.
Travel insurance certainly is a product all travel agents and agencies should consider adding to their product lines. It is the right thing to do to protect your client and your agency. Explore Travel Insurance—along with the other 14 modules—in the CTA program today.