Group business travel – how has it changed and what role does insurance play?

Insurer looks at 'new era' of group business travel in New Zealand

Group business travel – how has it changed and what role does insurance play?


By Terry Gangcuangco

The post-pandemic world, with its blurred lines between work and leisure trips, has ushered in what Chubb Insurance New Zealand calls a “new era” of group business travel. Here Chubb Insurance NZ’s accident & health manager Amber Wild (pictured) talks about the so-called fusion of business and leisure travel and how crucial ‘bleisure’ coverage is as a risk mitigation tool.

“With an evolving travel landscape coupled with an increase in flexible working, savvy businesses understand the importance of annual group business travel insurance as a risk management strategy for their organisation,” Wild said. “From a liability perspective, business travel insurance helps mitigate financial risks associated with travel and reduces potential financial impacts.

“Group policies typically provide comprehensive coverage, including medical and repatriation expenses, trip cancellations, baggage loss, and much more. This ensures employees are protected against a wide range of travel-related risks. Group policies can be tailored to meet the specific needs of a business and its travelling employees, aligned to the company’s travel policy and risk tolerance.”

Additionally, in Wild’s view, a group policy arrangement shows a commitment to staff welfare and can serve as a valuable recruitment and retention tool. Further benefits also include cost effectiveness when compared to individual policies.

“Businesses can negotiate favourable rates and terms with their insurance provider, potentially reducing the overall cost of coverage,” Wild explained. “It also ensures consistent coverage for all employees, regardless of their roles or location. This consistency helps in avoiding misunderstandings and disputes related to coverage.

“Also, having a business travel policy in place removes the onus on the employee to have to arrange their own insurance for the trip. Another key benefit is that the policy limits on annual business travel policies, like Chubb’s business travel insurance policy in New Zealand for example, are higher and broader than the limits on a leisure travel policy, so the employee has higher cover.”         

What to look for in bleisure cover

For Wild, there are three key things insurance brokers should be considering when arranging bleisure cover for their clients – global reach with local operations, round-the-clock claims service, and flexibility.  

“A global insurer can provide more flexible and cost-effective insurance solutions for a broader range of business sizes,” Wild highlighted. “This flexibility is crucial as insurance markets continue to evolve. In New Zealand, our multinational team works with international businesses of all sizes that are looking to provide a consistent standard of insurance benefits to their employees globally.

“We do this by leveraging our global scale to offer international insurance programmes where we can issue local policies, including for group business travel, that meet local compliance rules. The key benefit is that if there’s an event or benefit limit which is not covered by the local policy, the master policy will then respond.”

Wild, meanwhile, stressed the importance of round-the-clock claims support. She said having this access cannot be underestimated in the event of an incident. Chubb’s portal, for instance, allows policyholders to lodge and track claims online from anywhere in the world anytime of the day or week.

She added: “In New Zealand, our local authority level is high, both on the underwriting as well as the claims side of the business, so key decisions can be made quickly, locally. Daily interaction through proximity creates a seamless and fast-tracked approach to all claims.”

According to Wild, flexible cover can also be extended to include non-employees like contractors, as well as employees’ accompanying spouses and dependent children.

“Employees are now working in different ways and remotely from different locations,” Wild said. “Many businesses have an expectation that they can tack on their employees associated leisure to the business travel and be covered fully for it. Chubb’s business travel insurance policy in New Zealand offers this cover extension as standard.

“The cover also extends to company executives and directors for their pure leisure travel. It also recognises that senior roles are defined differently across organisations, depending on operating structure or legal constitution, and has made an allowance for this in the recently refreshed policy wording.”

Wild went on to point out that employers may be held liable for incidents that occur during the leisure portion of their employees’ business trips if appropriate coverage isn’t in place.

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