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WhatThe World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) recently revealed a new set of guidelines for the insurance sector of the travel industry. The protocols were based upon input from leading companies and will promote consistent standards across the board with an increased focus on health and safety. They are also meant to equip clients with the knowledge of travel risks; guide them toward the types of insurance coverage they need to look for; and teach them how to properly attain coverage that best suits their needs.
Why It MattersThe number of insurance policies available to travelers is staggering, and many advisors are left poring over the fine print to spot their key differences. Add this to the fact that most plans exclude pandemics, and it is no wonder that consumers have little incentive to return to travel. Until some sort of government-backed pandemic-specific insurance is made widely available to small businesses — including those in travel — WTTC’s standards are a critical first step toward rebuilding confidence in tourism and giving clients peace of mind if they choose to travel.
RELATED: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Changed the World of Travel Insurance
Fast Facts- The new standards are backed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
- Highlights of WTTC recommendations fall into categories: operational and staff preparedness; ensuring a safe travel experience; rebuilding trust and confidence with consumers; innovation; and implementing and enabling policies.
The recommendations include:
- Asking organizations to provide risk management plans — including ways they hope to combat the coronavirus — to insurers
- Making insurance plans thorough, practical and simple to follow
- Requiring staff to be informed of protective measures being taken, including coverage from insurance products
- Asking insurers to audit, identify and plug gaps in policies and source the right partners to provide appropriate coverage
- Requiring insurers to create blanket insurance and crisis management coverage
- Promoting an increased awareness of a policy’s terms and conditions, restrictions and limits
- Having access to a minimum base of mandatory coverage for risks posed by COVID-19
- Educating travelers on the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and what to look for in various types of policies
- These insurance protocols join WTTC’s Safe Travels portfolio of standards for hospitality, outdoor retail, airports, airlines, tour operators, convention centers, tourist attractions, meetings/events and more.
RELATED: WTTC Launches ‘Safe Travels’ Stamp to Verify Businesses Following Standardized Travel Protocols
What They Are Saying“We have worked closely with key players across the travel insurance industry to make recommendations to ensure individual travelers, groups and organizations can feel safe and confident enough to travel and [be] sure in the knowledge that they have the protection they need,” said Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of WTTC. “The measures outlined in our Insurance Guidelines should help guide travel insurers to create products that contain every contingency needed to offer reassurance to enable travel to recommence to those countries that have relaxed their border controls and travel restrictions.”
RELATED: WTTC Pushes for Local – Not National – Travel Restrictions to Boost Economy
“Insurance protects and supports the operations of stakeholders and thus plays a key part in the successful transition of the industry into the new normal,” said Robin Ingle, CEO of MSH Ingle International, Travel Navigator and Novus Health. “WTTC and its insurance, risk management and travel assistance members have worked closely to develop guidelines and an FAQ to address insurance-related issues and considerations. These guidelines will be an evolving document, and we will be on hand to answer questions to help guide and assist the industry toward a successful restart.”
“The benefits that travel insurance and assistance products offer have always been an important part of the travel experience,” said Beth Godlin, president of Aon Affinity Travel Practice and member of the WTTC Task Force. “The current global pandemic has directly affected companies in this industry who in turn have developed ways that these products can support the industry and travelers as we return to travel.”
The DetailsWorld Travel & Tourism Councilwww.wttc.org