Interview By: Andy Ogg, Editor and Marketing Director – Travel Professional NEWS
Interviewing: Daniel Durazo, Director of Communications – Allianz Global Assistance USA
Before we begin, I wanted to say a quick thank you for making the time for this interview and for taking the time to help share your recent findings and information regarding travel during Hurricane season.
Thanks Andy! Looking forward to sharing with your readers.
After last year’s devastating Hurricanes, can you share how many claims Allianz Global Assistance received as a result?
In the 2017 hurricane season alone, Allianz Global Assistance customers filed over 26,000 claims, with Irma accounting for 18,733; Harvey for 3,678; Maria for 3,496 and Jose for 156.
What types of claims did you experience as a result of the 2017 Hurricane season?
Of last year’s hurricane-related claims, 61% were cancellations, 16% were interruptions and 13% were delays.
What type(s) of protection does Allianz offer to travelers who may encounter a natural disaster on their trip?
If a hurricane prevents travelers from taking their trip, our travel insurance policies can provide a cancellation refund for covered pre-paid non-refundable travel expenses. Or, with trip interruption coverage, we may reimburse travelers whose vacation is cut short by a natural disaster, and may cover expenses incurred to get home or to another destination.
Our travel assistance department is available 24/7 to assist customers, and our TravelSmart App allows customers to do everything from access local emergency phone numbers to file a claim from your phone.
Do you have any advice or special tips to Travel Professionals who have clients visiting areas that could be affected by a possible Hurricane?
It’s important for Travel Professionals to inform their clients that, once a storm or hurricane is named, it’s too late to buy travel insurance to cover it. For this reason, Travel Professionals should recommend that their clients buy travel insurance when they book their trip, as opposed to purchasing it closer to the trip itself. This will allow them to benefit from the full breadth of the plan’s cancellation, interruption and/or delay benefits, whether caused by a hurricane or another covered reason.
If a Travel Professional has a client affected by a natural disaster, is it acceptable for the Travel Professional to contact Allianz directly to file a claim or does the client need to contact you directly?
Agents can provide valuable assistance in gathering the materials necessary for their clients to submit when filing a claim, and it’s easy for our customers to do so – they can even file directly from their phones with our TravelSmart app. Allianz Global Assistance also joined forces with Mastercard last year to deliver claims payments in real time to bank accounts through debit cards. Using Mastercard Send™, the company can now pay customers within minutes of their claims being finalized, giving travelers the peace of mind of almost immediate access to their funds.
What would be the leading factor, in your experience, for a traveler to purchase Travel insurance?
We live in an uncertain world and travel can be unpredictable. People get sick – whether before or during a vacation – trips are delayed due to severe weather, luggage is lost. Having travel insurance can make these unpleasant and unexpected events less painful, and less expensive. Overall, I’d say peace of mind is the primary reason to buy travel insurance, regardless of where or when you’re traveling.
Can you share a few of your top selling points to assist our readers in selling more Travel Insurance to their clients?
Travel can be expensive, so it’s worth protecting. When travelers consider how much a canceled vacation could cost them, the price of travel insurance (typically 5 to 10 percent of the pre-paid, non-refundable portion of a trip), proves to be a worthwhile expense. If there is a covered emergency ahead of or during a trip (for instance, the traveler has a death in the family or they become ill unexpectedly), insurance will reimburse travelers for their non-refundable expenses.
We also offer protection in case of medical emergencies. This is especially important when traveling out of the country, where U.S. medical insurance may not be accepted. When this is the case, Allianz can guarantee payments, as well as make sure the traveler is in a medical facility that is up to U.S. standards. If medically necessary to transport the traveler to a different facility, or bring them back to the U.S., our team will also arrange that, which could otherwise cost tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Does Allianz offer any training or educational opportunities to Travel Professionals?
Yes, Allianz offers an Agent Training Program. We’ve even developed a system called “Solutions, Simplified,” which outlines methods for purchasing, marketing, servicing and training, to be sure Travel Professionals maximize their return on selling Allianz travel insurance.
In your findings, what are your top 3 claims for travelers so far in 2018?
The top three claim events of 2018 have been related to winter storms Grayson, Toby and Riley.
What kind of commissions does Allianz Travel Assistance offer to Travel Professionals?
The compensation that our Travel Professionals receives can vary. We recommend Travel Professionals visit our website and contact us for more information.
Where can our readers go to learn more or sign up to sell Allianz Travel Assistance to their clients?
Our website – www.allianztravelinsurance.com – offers a plethora of information on our plans and service. Travel Professionals can learn more about working with Allianz Travel Insurance at the Solutions, Simplified page of our website.
Before we conclude, do you have anything you’d like to share with our Travel Professional NEWS readers?
We really value our relationships with Travel Professionals and want to thank you for the work you do in informing your readers about the importance of protecting their trip investments with travel insurance.
Thank you so much for the time today, as well as the very valuable information that you have shared. We wish you continued success as we look forward.
Thanks for taking the time to learn more about Allianz, Andy, and same to you!