We recently spoke with Greg Lawson, who is on our ITIC UK planning committee about the travel insurance industry and the best chance in 20 years to redesign products to meet consumer demand.
How long have you worked in the industry, and what do you most enjoy about it?
I started in 1994, straight out of University, working in a Lloyd’s Broker handling PA and Travel Insurance enquiries. In those days, a policy file was a ream of paper, often from a teleprinter with a cheque stapled to it, a medical screening involved taking a posted medical certificate into the underwriter in Lloyd’s, sitting next to him (rarely a her back then) and getting an ink stamp on my £15 premium or £250 excess proposal. It was very manual but that meant getting far more involved in the claims and complaints cases, and travel has got its fair share of unusual incidents and destinations. With relatively marginal profit to be made, the industry has always been fairly limited in size so getting to know people was easier. For me, rather than joining the management consulting, finance and big brands favoured by many graduates, I decided to try and be a bigger fish in a smaller pond.
How long have you been attending ITIC UK? What do you value about the event?
I’ve been attending ITIC for over 20 years and my first conferences were Brighton in the UK and Paris for International as ITIC Global was called then. I have always appreciated the range of content and the breadth of attendee experience and industry involvement. For many years, hearing the ideas and stories from our underwriting, assistance, screening and claims peers, as much as getting to know the characters involved, was valuable as much as fun and interesting, Of course, the networking hours and unique dancing added to the flavour!
What are the most important obstacles still facing the travel and international health insurance sector from your perspective?
I look forward to hearing everyone’s views in Cardiff and will share some of my own but Covid created challenges that we have never seen before, from claims to assistance to underwriting, but also around more basic industry survival and evolution questions. As we come out from the Covid mist (hopefully soon), understanding how travel behaviours have changed, how destinations have adapted or not, but also how both our own industry and the travel sector on which we depend has changed, will be key to how quickly we can regenerate much-needed revenues. Maybe more importantly, ensuring that we create products that customers want and need, at the price that pays for the claims we will face. Simple, really…
Which sessions are you most looking forward to attending at ITIC UK?
Any session other than the one where I’m sitting in front of real humans and speaking about the toughest time for everyone, needing to sound positive and informed about what still feels like green shoots of recovery!
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?
Nothing stops us meeting customer demands other than customers not being convinced in the value of us meeting that demand, or us refusing to invest and evidence the value our industry offers. This is the best chance I have seen in 20 years to redesign products, processes and pricing – to increase conversion for the longer term. Will we take the opportunity? Will we focus again on price or can we prove value? How much did we learn about handling another global macro event? And how will the various regulatory bodies react and influence our ability to evolve?
What business development opportunities are there in your region for the travel and international health insurance industry?
Now that would be telling!
Head of Travel Insurance – Collinson Group
As a veteran of 30 years travel insurance experience, starting at Lloyd’s of London, then as a direct intermediary and now as a UK & EU insurer at Collinson, I have enjoyed learning, and continuing to learn, the broad scope of roles played, and risks covered, in our industry, and love evolving customer propositions in an increasingly digital age. I’ve always been involved with industry associations, currently chairing the ABI Travel Committee, and supported several key conferences. My wife and I are currently working out what to talk about as our two girls have disappeared to university, but we both enjoy walking Merlot, our dog, playing golf and travelling overseas! My other distractions outside work include hockey, gaming and the odd glass of wine.
ITIC UK 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 UK 2022 is taking place in Cardiff on the 28 April at the voco St David’s Cardiff Hotel
Stay connected and join our conversation #ITICUK