Many travelers who planned to fly in the days before Hurricane Florence were out of luck. Over 2,000 flights were eventually canceled by airlines as the storm drew closer, according to a report from USA Today, though that’s a small number in comparison to last year’s Hurricane Harvey, which led to the cancelation of more than 11,000 flights.
It’s not just one element of a hurricane that can throw airports and trip takers’ plans into chaos.
“The rain can be just as disruptive as the winds and the storm. All you need is a couple of good heavy downpours to delay flights and cause other things to back up,” said James Sion, chief operating officer of Generali Global Assistance. “For those who are just trying to get from point A to point B, there could be disruptions by way of road closures, by way of flight cancelations or delayed flights.”
For travelers heading off to vacation destinations who have purchased insurance, it’s a good idea for brokers to let them know that they should have their policy in hand when they hear of a significant delay or disruption, and help them understand exactly what’s covered so that they can make an informed decision on what they need to do next, explained the Generali COO.
“It’s important that there be clear, concise, and consistent communication out to the customer base, so that people know what telephone numbers to call and people know what resources they have at their fingertips to get some help and guidance. We encourage our policyholders to call in at any time, even before any disruption takes place so that they know exactly what coverages they have, who they should reach out to in the event of an emergency, if they’re trapped somewhere, or if they decided not to leave their homes,” said Sion.
“If they need to cancel and change their entire plans or if they have to reschedule flights, if they have to try and rebook accommodations – the more information that they have and the more familiar they are with their policy, the better positions they’ll be in.”
Brokers and agents act as sources of crucial support on a rainy day for policyholders who are looking for that information. Sion has a tip for insurance professionals who want to make a storm less stressful for their traveling clients.
“Wait times could be high during these periods of time, so any information that can be put out by way of recording or offering call-backs, anything that can ease the stress and anxiety that travelers will face during these times of storms, would be great and necessary,” he said.