As we finalise preparations for the upcoming ITIC MENA conference in Dubai, we have been catching up with the ITIC MENA committee who have helped develop this new regional event for the travel and health insurance community. We recently spoke with Lisa Fryar, who stressed the importance of networks to provide real-time “on the ground intel” for travel assistance
How long have you worked in the industry, and what do you most enjoy about it?
I started in the industry in 2003 by chance – I had no idea that this world existed! I am addicted to travel and I really love being part of an industry that provides a safety net for travellers in their time of need.
How long have you been attending ITIC? What do you value about the event? What do you think ITIC MENA will offer the travel and health insurance community?
I’ve been part of ITIC for 8 years, my first ITIC conference was in Venice 2014. I quickly realised the value of networking with other industry professionals, we are all passionate about the industry and as a group we are all very generous with our knowledge. With the pandemic having impacted health and travel significantly, ITIC will play even more of an important role in the industry through the network of real-time “on the ground” intel. Those connected and in the know will be able to adapt much faster.
What are the most important obstacles still facing the travel and international health insurance sector from your perspective?
Without a doubt, global government restrictions and consumer confidence in travel. Travel is now different, with travellers tending to travel less often and for a lot longer. There will be uncertainty for some time to come, and insurers will need to adapt to the consumer needs, ie more cost-competitive and covering the unknown.
Which sessions are you most looking forward to attending at ITIC MENA?
There are so many sessions I’m looking forward to: infectious diseases, duty of care, cultural differences – all of them! But mostly I’m really excited to be meeting up with old friends and making new ones. This industry attracts amazing people!
Are you confident in the ability of suppliers to the travel insurance sector to meet the changing and increasing demands from customers around the world?
As an industry, we have proven to adapt quickly as global events unfold. When things happen, the industry finds a solution – 9/11, the Boxing Day Tsunami, bombings, earthquakes, terrorist attacks. There is no reason to think we can’t continue to evolve as an industry.
What business development opportunities are there in your region for the travel and international health insurance industry?
The Middle East is fast becoming an innovation and economic hub because we are smack bang in the middle of the world map. Our leisure tourism and medical tourism is on the increase, with world-class medical facilities and amazing attractions (plus it’s sunny all year round). The attitude here is to disrupt industries and innovate, the opportunities here are endless.
Lisa Fryar is a passionate health and travel insurance professional, with over 20 years’ experience working across the globe. She currently lives in Dubai working with one of the world’s leading airlines, managing the healthcare needs of staff and their families. Along with the responsibility of managing the self-insured medical scheme, Lisa was also tasked to introduce an in-house medical emergency assistance service for crew and pilot down route as well as the Inflight passenger support service. More recently, she has taken on the management of the internal Employee Assistance Program, focusing on staff and their families mental health and remains a strong advocate for employee health and wellbeing programs.
ITIC MENA is a regional gathering of the travel and health insurance community. It’s where you can connect with like-minded strategic partners and catch up with colleagues, hear from insightful speakers and join discussions that shape the future of our industry. ITIC MENA 2022 is taking place in Dubai, UAE 8-10 May at The Oberoi, Dubai.
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