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ITIC talks with Women in Travel Insurance (WITI)

ITIC Industry Insights - WITI

In our latest ITIC Industry Insights, the Women in Travel Insurance (WITI) committee divulged the content of some of their latest meetings, exploring the impact that Covid-19 has had on the travel insurance industry and how the industry is likely to adapt its offering going forward

At a time when connecting face-to-face isn’t as simple as we are used to, we have been taking the opportunity to catch up with members of our ITIC community, to find out how they are navigating the current crisis. You can read previous insights here: Eva Kluge, Dexter Tan, Carlos Salinas, Bettina Vadera

WITI was formed back in November 2010 and is made up of a group of professionals with various backgrounds in the travel insurance industry, encompassing a wide breadth of knowledge and experience across all touchpoints of the sector. We meet regularly to discuss relevant issues and our aim has always been to share knowledge and experience with fellow professionals, debate industry-wide issues and explore new innovations and developments across all elements of the travel insurance product cycle.

In the past few months, the WITI group has met (virtually) on a number of occasions since the outbreak of Covid-19 began to affect the travel industry.

At our recent meeting on 13 May, our discussion focused particularly on the impact of Covid-19 on the travel insurance industry, including when travel might restart, and where. Certainly, there was a consensus that domestic travel was clearly going to open up more quickly than foreign holidays, and whilst there were significant issues facing the travel insurance market at the present time, there was likely to be a ‘bounce back’ to foreign travel in due course – although trying to pinpoint when was somewhat more difficult. The impact of Covid-19 is affecting all sectors of the travel industry and how these sectors return to some sort of normality is going to vary according to the type of business they are; their customer bases and travel preferences; and the legal/political environment – particularly with the possible introduction of travel bubbles, travel bridges and the like.

There was also debate around the number and type of cancellation claims made to travel insurers due to Covid-19; the responsibility of airlines, tour operators or accommodation providers to provide refunds under the law and their own cancellation policies; and the position of insurers and sellers in terms of pro-rata policy refunds and policy date changes. Certainly, it seems that insurers have already been asked to consider extensions or partial refunds of annual multi-trip policies due to customers effectively being unable to make use of these while the Foreign & Commonwealth Office advice to avoid all but essential travel anywhere remains in force.

Looking ahead to when travel may resume, we also considered how policies may be worded going forward, and how Covid-19 would be treated? What coverage will insurers be able to provide in a time of such uncertainty? And what will customers be willing to pay for that cover?

The general consensus of opinion is that our industry and travel insurance offerings will certainly change going forward, and many of the questions raised for discussion at our May meeting will be ongoing questions requiring further thought and consideration.

Women in Travel Insurance (WITI)

The WITI committee is currently chaired by Angela Smith – with an organisation membership of over 20 travel insurance industry professionals from across all sectors.

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