Is travel insurance no longer a grudge purchase?

Chief sales officer sits down with Insurance Business to discuss changing attitudes

Is travel insurance no longer a grudge purchase?


By Terry Gangcuangco

After being hit hard by massive challenges in recent years, the travel industry is now undoubtedly back to normal. What’s changed, to a certain degree, is the adjacent sector of travel insurance, and here Allianz Partners New Zealand chief sales officer David Wallace (pictured) talks about the shifts his camp is observing in the market.

A firm believer of the saying, “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel,” Wallace shared with Insurance Business that they’re seeing “more and more” indications of people adhering to this adage.

According to Wallace, while “the impact of COVID is long gone,” what people’s awareness has done is turn insurance from “I’ll get a policy and throw it in the bag because I feel I have to” type of purchase into a critical must-have.

Kiwis travelling to the nearby Pacific Islands, for instance, are gaining a better appreciation of insurance coverage, given recent incidents cited by Wallace such as dengue fever outbreaks and the New Caledonia riots, not to mention the level of care or medical support available in some locations in the event of emergencies.

A suitable example is the recent case of Karain and Susan Eketone, who were celebrating their silver wedding anniversary in Fiji when Karain had a potentially fatal accident. He was swimming with a turtle when a boat’s propeller fractured his skull.

Now called “Miracle Man”, Karain had to be medically evacuated back to New Zealand where he received treatment that saved his life. The Eketones had comprehensive travel insurance from Allianz Partners NZ. 

“Knowing that someone was there to take care of things that I didn’t need to worry about was amazing, and just gave me that reassurance that we’re going to give him the best chance,” Susan said.

Referring to the comprehensive policy, the Miracle Man said: “[It] basically saved my life.”

For Wallace, it was “the right choice” for the couple, who ended up needing the crucial coverage.

“You really need to make sure that you understand what you’re covered for and that you’ve got a company that’s going to give you the level of cover you’re looking for,” he told Insurance Business.

Allianz Partners, which is manned by around 22,600 people globally, medically repatriated 9,881 customers and chartered 1,055 air ambulances in 2023. They’re part of the 72.9 million cases handled by the global provider last year.                                  

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