Travellers want more – but are insurers keeping up?

Failure to do so could lead to swift consequences…

Travellers want more – but are insurers keeping up?


By Terry Gangcuangco

With “travel on the mind” not just for New Zealanders but globally, Allianz Partners is expecting travellers to want more from airlines, travel services providers, and insurers. Failing to keep up can result in dire outcomes, according to Joe Mason (pictured), global head of product management and innovation for travel at Allianz Partners.

Speaking with Insurance Business while he was in NZ, the US-based leader said: “Consumers and travellers are just becoming more and more demanding in terms of expectations.

“So, expectations are rising – companies have to deliver better quality, better responsiveness, improved speed, or more curated types of experiences. The consequence for not doing those things is swift and often severe reactions from customer groups that express displeasure through social media, or friends and family.”

How many New Zealanders are travelling?

Mason highlighted that, in New Zealand, the desire to travel to seek new experiences, see new cities, or reconnect with friends and family is “really strong” compared to other markets. 

“Based on the research that we did prior to year-end, 87% of Kiwis said they were going to travel either international or domestic in the next 12 months,” he noted. “That’s a lot on a relative basis.

“On the friends-and-family topic, one thing that may be a little relatively unique for New Zealand travellers is the fact that, as it relates to destinations, this is the first time in a long time, at least based on our research, where Europe is becoming more and more preferred almost to the same or more extent than Australia in terms of visitation – Italy, France, the UK – and the reasons for travel are oftentimes friends and family-related.”

Additionally, Mason said there seems to be a higher level of pragmatic travel planning and do-it-yourself research and booking among Kiwis. He also pointed to the 77% of respondents in last November’s poll who said they would insure their next trip.

“Three-quarters of Kiwis for outbound travel plan to protect their trips from unexpected events and plan to purchase travel insurance,” he said. “One of the reasons is the fact that trip costs have risen. If you’re unable to go and you have to cancel your trip, there’s a lot at stake. So, insurance is a nice buffer and safeguard against that. There’s a strong appetite to continue to purchase travel insurance despite the fact travel prices have risen.”

Reducing ‘travel tension’

The goal then, according to Mason, is to help these keen travellers in their journeys on top of just insuring them.

“There’s a term that I like to use called ‘travel tension’,” he told Insurance Business. “Travel tension is what we all face when we plan, research, book, and go on trips and enjoy the travel itself. ‘Am I going to the right destination? Am I choosing the right airline? Am I going at a time when the dollar or the euro is going to be strong or weak? What’s the weather like? What are the people like?’

“There’s a lot of uncertainty even for avid travellers. There’s a lot of unknowns that create this tension. And the more companies – whether it’s Allianz or an OTA (online travel agency) or an airline or a travel agent – can reduce that travel tension, the more confident people are with travel.”

One of the tools Allianz Partners offers is its one-stop-shop digital platform Allyz, which provides travel advice and expertise along with integrated services. Features include destination itineraries and real-time flight and safety information. Already available in other markets, it will be rolled out in New Zealand in the near future.    

“This value proposition, this brand promise that we have, which is we secure your future as it relates to travel, is more than just insuring a trip,” Mason said. “It’s more than just flight cancellation. It’s more than just emergency medical coverage. It’s actually the entire customer journey from planning, deciding, booking, the actual act of travelling and returning home, and making sure that closed loop is sound.”

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