Allianz Global Assistance: Everything you need to know
Offices in Canada: 4
Founded in Canada: 1988
Allianz Global Assistance is a leading travel insurance and assistance service provider in Canada. Spread across four offices in Canada – Kitchener, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver – the company partners with financial services and insurance industries to bring travel insurance solutions to Canadians. According to the company, more than eight million Canadians rely on its travel services when they take a boat, plane, train or automobile to explore the world – protection that is crucial if a traveller, for example, falls ill during the course of a trip.
“When we look at our claims experience, the reality is that medical emergencies can happen to anybody at any time, regardless of age, how long they’re travelling for, or where they’re travelling to,” Dan Keon, vice president of market management at Allianz Global Assistance, told Insurance Business. “The situations that can result in the highest claims are just those unexpected emergencies, things like appendicitis or a slip and fall that results in concussion.”
Allianz Global Assistance doesn’t only have operations in Canada. It’s also part of the world’s largest travel insurance and assistance firm, with operations in 34 countries around the globe.
Allianz Global Assistance opened its doors in 1988 under the World Access Canada brand, with a home base in Kitchener, Ontario, and a goal of administering travel-related service programs for the Canadian insurance market. In 1992, World Access Canada expanded into a full-service emergency assistance and claims centre, before being acquired in 2000 by Mondial Assistance Group and becoming part of the largest travel assistance company in the world.
In 2008, Mondial Assistance kicked off a rebranding effort, with 28 of its businesses, including World Access Canada, which changed its name to Mondial Assistance Canada. In 2012, the company underwent another name change when it rebranded to Allianz Global Assistance – part of a rebranding effort that started in 2010. In 2015, Allianz Global Assistance merged with TIC Travel Insurance to create one of Canada’s leading travel insurance providers. Later in the year, TIC took on the Allianz Global Assistance name, officially unifying the two companies.
Allianz Global Assistance in part works with brokers to deliver its products into the Canadian market, and strives to provide insurance professionals with the tools they need to answer all of their clients’ questions on policies and match them up with the right travel insurance solution. In 2018, Allianz Global Assistance released a white paper titled Top 10 “overlooked” benefits of travel insurance that brokers can use to highlight the many ways that travel insurance can help if something goes wrong when an individual is abroad.
“There’s tremendous opportunity for brokers to really understand the needs, fears and concerns of their clients, and, in so doing, to be the educators and guides that help clients to be more familiar, and comfortable with their travel insurance policy,” Karen Costain, national director of business development at Allianz Global Assistance, told Insurance Business. “Allianz Global Assistance provides insurance advisors with tools to help overcome objections and raise awareness for how travel insurance rounds out a client’s financial portfolio.
“In recent years, travellers have become more discerning as they seek greater service value from all travel-related suppliers. There’s an opportunity for brokers to get ahead of airlines, tour operators and hoteliers simply by presenting travel insurance to their clients and integrating it into existing insurance portfolios.”
The white paper provided detailed information on how travel insurance can come in handy for overseas medical benefits, lost or delayed baggage, flight delays and cancellations, emergency medical transportation, and trip interruption or delay benefits.
“Allianz Global Assistance provides insurance brokers and advisors with access to education, tools and resources about travel insurance to help your travelling clients have safe and healthy trips,” said Costain. “We want travellers to return to Canada with great memories and experiences, not massive medical bills that risk depleting financial resources or nest eggs.”
For certain demographics, such as snowbirds, brokers are that much more important when it comes to linking these customers up with travel insurance, and many brokers have honed their travel insurance expertise for this clientele.
“We really want to sell our products to brokers. It’s one of the best distribution channels that we have because insurance brokers do nothing but study insurance,” said Costain, adding that insurance professionals will come out in waves for the company’s training opportunities to keep up to date with policy wordings and changes in market trends. “That’s really important because seniors have a whole host of medical conditions that a 25-year-old doesn’t have. They’re also really savvy and they’re looking for the best prices. They don’t want to be spending $5,000 or $6,000 on a policy, which some can be if you’ve got a lot of conditions.”