Allianz Global Assistance has introduced a suite of benefits, SmartBenefits, which gives customers the option to get proactive payments for flight delays and the ability to file some claims without including receipts.

Richard Aquino, vice president of sales for Allianz, said the goal of SmartBenefits is to be more proactive with travelers.

Allianz monitors clients' flights for qualifying delays (three to five hours, depending on the policy). Then, Allianz automatically files a claim for the customer, offering several payment options; fixed payments of $100 per person can be sent to a debit card within minutes, direct deposits can be available in 24-48 hours or, if the customer takes no action, they will be mailed a check automatically.

Aquino said the goal is to make travel disruptions more tolerable.

"You've already had enough inconvenience," he said. "How can we make the journey a little better?"

Additionally, customers can file claims for bag delays without filing receipts. They can enter basic data points to verify eligibility (proof of loss or delay) on Allianz's TravelSmart app. They will be notified of their claim status within seven days, Allianz said, and can receive up to $100 per person per day impacted by the delay.

Allianz has also expanded its coverage, including, under some plans, things like the ability to cancel a trip for a hurricane warning or mandatory evacuation. Benefit and coverage descriptions have also been simplified.

Aquino said the new benefits have been tested, and feedback has been positive, especially from travel agents whose customers benefitted from them.

"This wasn't developed overnight," Aquino said. "It was years in the making, from talking to a lot of our partners to understanding the pain points when people travel."

He added that the goal of SmartBenefits is to "make the traveler's and the travel adviser's life a little nicer when an inconvenience or something bad happens." 

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