THIA: Global instability up, purchase of travel policies up

THIA: Global instability up, purchase of travel policies up

THIA: Global instability up, purchase of travel policies up The number of Canadians buying travel health insurance policies is continuing to grow, as global instability and health concerns cause increasing numbers of Canadians to change their travel plans.

New figures from the Travel Health Insurance Association (THIA) reveal that 78% of travellers purchased cover in 2015 – up 4% from the previous year – and 13% of respondents have altered travel plans because of civil unrest or violent events.

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A significant 14% of travellers of child-bearing age have changed their travel plans because of concerns about the Zika Virus, a consumer survey from the association found.

And it seems that while greater education on the risks of travel is fuelling a rise in the purchase of policies, consumers are not always well-informed on the coverage their insurance provides.

40% of respondents believed that trip cancellation is covered when Travel Advisories are issued – which isn’t necessarily accurate, and just 47% regularly review their coverage before embarking on trips – suggesting that the role of brokers in advising consumers may be particularly important in an unstable global climate.

Alex Bittner, the outgoing president of THIA, told Insurance Business that brokers are a “valuable resource” in the process of keeping policyholders educated and informed, adding that they are doing a great job.

“The last thing [brokers] want is to send a client out who isn’t insured adequately, at all, or inappropriately, because the first phone call that’s going to ring once a claim isn’t paid [by an insurer] is going to be back to the broker,” he said.

THIA, who estimate that 48% of Canadians travel at least once a year, said increasing education was improving the purchase rate of policies, as travellers become more aware of the risks – with older travellers in particular big on the take-up of travel insurance.

Going forward, and as instability continues globally, Bittner said he expects sales of policies to continue to rise.

“The last thing anyone wants including insurers, brokers, travellers, media – none of us wants a catastrophe,” he added.

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Travel insurance sales for Canada surge: Report