Lauren Gumport is the Vice President of Communications & Brand at travel disruptor Faye.
There’s been a glow-up in travel insurance. The outdated, clunky policies for trips, only perhaps once used by our parents for adventures with hefty price tags, have finally evolved into something much more delightful and easier to look at.
Well, sort of.
Though some legacy players have failed to modernize, and in many ways digitize, several of their processes (on claims and such), new players have entered the scene and are presenting much more easy-to-understand coverage options than their predecessors. In short: They’ve managed to better communicate to today’s consumers about what their trip protection actually protects while also offering more modern coverage that addresses today’s travelers—such as 24/7 support via a variety of channels.
Travel insurance brands that actually want to speak with customers: imagine that.
What This Should Look Like
These new providers that emerged following the onslaught of travel issues that occurred during Covid-19 but have found success given the chaos surrounding travel have now finally addressed many pain points of the travel insurance ecosystem. If your travel brand wants to follow in their footsteps, consider:
• Creating a simple purchase process: Travel insurance providers should simplify the purchase process and take out all paperwork that once used to be involved. Make sure customers can get coverage as quickly as possible by answering a handful of questions: from the destination to who’s going to trip dates and total estimated trip cost.
• Avoiding confusing package names: Rather than making them choose from gold, silver and bronze packages—or ones with other fancy names—offer comprehensive packages that take the confusing elements out of protecting upcoming adventures. For example, offer whole-trip travel insurance that protects their entire trip.
• Creating clear content: It’s 2022 and simply no longer okay to expect individuals to read a 10-page, jargon-filled PDF. Provide clear content on what you do, and do not, cover. That’s how it should be.
What You Should Avoid
In order to avoid providing travel insurance that is anything but helpful, I have a few suggestions.
• First, avoid becoming add-ons to customers after they book a flight or hotel. Sell your offerings directly or partners with sites that accurately represent your coverage. Super-aggressive wording about needing to protect their journey after making a purchase makes it hard not to opt in, but customers won’t appreciate the coverage restrictions and limited benefits that they may not find out about until they hit a bump in the road. Also avoid using “see all coverage” hyperlinks in your messaging that directs customers to a super-long, hard-to-read PDF. This can leave travelers confused rather than well-informed.
• Second, cover customers’ full adventure—not just parts of it. For example, consider covering medical conditions and various scenarios related to Covid-19. You should also provide the option for consumers to cancel for any reason as long as it’s two days in advance of their departure date. Such an option is key amid a travel environment that’s still filled with much uncertainty.
• Third, provide around-the-clock assistance. Travel insurance should be about much more than providing coverage. It should also mean providing care. Today’s consumers should have third parties looking after them when they’re away from home. Sure, you might have to charge more for trip protection if you provide both benefits and 24/7 customer service, but the peace of mind in having a companion look after customers during their trip is often considered priceless to them.
If All Else Fails …
If they’re not sure which travel insurance provider to choose, customers are likely to do a bit of social media stalking. I swear I have a point.
Companies can showcase how they communicate with their customers using their own business pages or the pages of their employees. For example, at Faye, we make it a point to communicate like real humans on social to show our company culture and our personalities. Why? Because we represent the company and want to build long-lasting relationships with travelers rather than making one-off sales. Even our claims team is on LinkedIn (one of whom was a nationally touring comedian, and man, does he have insurance jokes for days).
So consider borrowing strategies from the new travel insurance startups that have hit the scene rather than returning to the legacy approaches you’ve utilized in the past. It could open up a world of benefits for you and your customers.