California Broker: Market Sectors Driving Travel Insurance Sales

By Rajeev Shrivastava


Originally published in California Broker Magazine on May 1, 2019


The global travel industry continues to grow, and on its heels, travel insurance sales. Analysts forecast that the travel insurance market will grow by a CAGR of 8.26% through 2024, with third-party distribution channels such as banks, insurtech-driven aggregators and insurance brokers driving this growth. The explosion of specialized travel including adventure travel, cruise travel, wellness getaways, cultural travel, volunteer travel and bleisure travel, are all driving the specialized travel insurance market to new heights.


Life and health brokers are in the undeniable position of adding significant revenue to their brokerages by adding travel insurance to their portfolios.


Turn-key solutions from third-party aggregators have allowed many brokerages to see six-figure revenue increases added to their brokerage coffers. With record-breaking summer travel on the horizon, this article will do a deep dive into the demographic sectors driving the travel insurance market and various coverage options for brokerages who are considering adding travel insurance to their portfolios.


Solos, Seniors, Millennials and Bleisure Travelers


According to Allied Market Research, the online travel market for those 21-32 years old will reach $1 billion by 2022. While we won’t do a deep dive into Gen X in this article, currently they are the biggest spenders as 61% have families and travel with them. Their spending will not be eclipsed by millennials for another five years and many brokerages likely cater to a Gen X and senior clientele versus millennials. However, millennials will be the biggest travel spenders in time and we will focus on them for the purpose of future sales potential.


Millennials: The biggest travel spenders by 2024


The millennial thirst for adventure and experiential ‘live like a local’ travel is matched only by their interest in offbeat and little-known destinations. They eschew traditional tourist destinations in favor of combining travel with volunteering in third-world villages or living in remote areas with cultures vastly different than their own. They seek out adventure holidays with extreme sports such as ice-caving, zip lining, parasailing, mountaineering and surfing.


More Millennials will spend over $5,000 on a single travel trip than any other demographic.


80 percent of Millennials value travel expenditures over buying a home or car.


The millennial demographic offers opportunity for additional policy riders, such as hazardous sports riders. Most travelers don’t realize that a typical travel insurance policy only covers the traveler for injuries sustained involving swimming, walking and light hiking. Any injuries for riskier activities such as skiing, snowboarding, mountain climbing, surfing, parasailing or zip lining require an additional rider for hazardous sports.


Millennials enjoy ecotourism and altruistic volunteering, often in third-world environments where they are more likely to be exposed to tropical diseases, poisonous insects or animals, and unsanitary conditions. They must have medical coverage that allows for air medical transport from remote locations and the ability to be flown to major medical centers or repatriated back home if treatment options are not available in the country they are in.


Most travelers don’t realize that a typical travel insurance policy only covers the traveler for injuries sustained involving swimming, walking and light hiking.


Any injuries for riskier activities such as skiing, mountain climbing, surfing, parasailing, or zip lining require an additional rider for hazardous sports.


With millennials making up the largest living population and the largest sector for overall global travel in the next five years, specialized policy riders for adventure travel and hazardous sports activities guarantee a generous revenue stream for brokerages.


Senior Travelers: Specialized policy riders for acute onset of pre-existing conditions


According to AARP, 99% of seniors traveled in 2017 with an average of five trips per year. They also reported that 88% of Baby Boomers had selected their 2019 destinations by December 2018. Seniors travel the most frequently, often make their travel plans six months to a year in advance, and with most living on fixed incomes, are a budget-conscious demographic, though there is also a huge luxury market driven by wealthy seniors.


Even though today’s seniors are the most active and healthy senior generation than ever before, many suffer from health ailments due to their age, such as hypertension, diabetes or heart issues that may require a comprehensive coverage policy to provide a benefit known as acute onset of pre-existing conditions.


Seniors travel the most frequently, plan their vacations earlier and are the demographic most likely to need specialized coverage for pre-existing health conditions.


Seniors must be covered for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation if severe illness, injury or death occurs abroad. These specialized medical transports can reach six-figures and would be financially devastating without travel insurance coverage to seniors living on fixed incomes.


Travel health insurance policies do not offer coverage for pre-existing conditions such as hypertension, diabetes or heart issues. They do offer comprehensive coverage for acute onset of a pre-existing condition, which is defined as a sudden and unexpected recurrence of a pre-existing condition with no forewarning from a physician. Though travelers are not required to report health history to buy a policy, if a claim is made, only the attending physician can determine whether or not a certain scenario would be categorized as an acute onset of a pre-existing condition.


Seniors should also keep in mind that their Medicare coverage does not extend to treatment outside of the U.S. While some supplemental policies may cover certain emergency treatments, payment must be made at the time treatment is rendered. If your brokerage’s clients choose to travel without travel medical insurance, carefully review the limits of their supplemental Medicare coverage with them prior to departure and urge them to consider taking out travel medical insurance coverage.


Seniors offer the opportunity not only for acute onset of pre-existing conditions coverage but also yearly or multi-trip policy sales and even hazardous sports riders, as a growing body of seniors are embarking on adventure travel.


Solo Travelers: Health, spa and wellness travelers seeking adventure and culture


The solo travel market generated over $125 billion in 2017 and led to a 230% increase in women-only travel companies. Women make over 80% of all travel purchases – solo travel is exploding and being driven mainly by females over age 55. Women of all ages love traveling to spa destinations, mindfulness or yoga retreats and escaping busy work and family obligations to re-energize.


They like to experience cultural activities and other cultures in global destinations and love adventure activities as a form of personal transformation. Many seek spa cruises and being pampered at sea, with port stops allowing cultural and adventure experiences. Forbes reported in March that specialty cruise insurance is now being offered for this exploding market.


Over 32 million American women make solo trips each year, with most taking at least three trips per year [Boston Globe]


While women like to travel alone, many like to take group tours and guided walking tours in major destination cities and museums or trips to ‘the locals’ area once they arrive, which might otherwise be unsafe to embark on as a solo traveler. The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) reports that women-only itineraries are growing, which allows women to travel alone yet participate in adrenaline-pumping activities within the safety of a female-only group.


Safety is the number one concern for female solo travelers. They need to plan daytime arrivals and departures and select safe, well-lit areas for lodging whether they stay in a hotel or use a hosted stay service.


Specialized travel packages such as cruise insurance, hazardous sports riders and comprehensive trip and travel medical insurance coverage offerings allow solos to venture abroad with peace of mind.


Bleisure Travelers: Mixing business travel with added leisure timeThe perception of bleisure travel, once frowned upon within most corporations, is slowly changing. Many corporations now see it as a way to provide their employees with an easy perk and provide work-life balance while preserving the integrity of the business trip itself.


A recent survey by Hilton Hotels and Resorts found that 70% of business travelers had a desire to extend their business trips for leisure and found that 68% of travelers mix business with pleasure between one and three times a year.


Another study reports that a whopping 74% of North American business travelers are either planning or considering a bleisure trip in the next six months. For professionals who travel twice or more per year for business or leisure, a multi-trip plan is a good option, to minimize overall costs.


A post-Brexit world is causing uncertainty in both the business and travel worlds, creating an environment that necessitates a “Cancel for Any Reason” policy rider for all business travelers


Business travel insurance expenditures are the largest in the industry, offering policy riders and coverage that provide security for the unique needs of today’s global business traveler. A post-Brexit world is causing uncertainty in both the business and travel worlds, creating a needed travel coverage option beyond Cancel for Work Reasons, which does not cover civil unrest.


Smart businesses with operations in high-conflict areas have always been covered for terrorism and kidnapping and ransom of their employees. With the civil unrest in Western countries growing, a coverage option, known as Cancel for Any Reason, is becoming a popular purchase. This coverage allows for canceling a trip up to two days prior to departure for any reason and reimbursing the traveler up to 75% of non-refundable trip investment costs.


Bleisure travel’s trajectory will only increase as corporations see its value and the increase in productivity that comes with their employees taking time off. With the ability to sell a business travel policy including Cancel for Any Reason – which adds a 40% cost to the existing policy – as well as one for additional family members who may meet them for the post-business leg of a journey, bleisure travel is a growing demographic that cannot be ignored.


Expand your brokerage by adding travel insurance to your portfolio


As a trusted advisor to your clients with their life, health and property coverage, it makes sense to extend this relationship with your clients by offering travel insurance to ensure that their well-being and financial interests are protected when they are abroad.


Read the full article on CalBrokerMag.com.


How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

Reader Interactions