Jamie Biesiada
Jamie Biesiada

Jamie Biesiada is on leave. This insight originally appeared in the Home-based Agent eNewsletter Feb. 20, 2017.

Travel insurance can be an important part of an agent's revenue, and an even more important part of a client's vacation package if something goes wrong, but it's also something many agents shy away from selling.

Bob Chambers, vice president of operations at CSA Travel Protection, said that the agents who sell the most CSA policies seem to share some qualities: They offer insurance with every sale, they sell it with confidence and they have a base level of knowledge about the product.

"A lot of travel agents realize this, but a lot of them may not - travel insurance is one of the highest-commission products that they can sell," he said.

Chambers notices that some agents get held up selling insurance. Oftentimes, he said, they have just successfully sold a dream vacation to a client, and don't want to bring them back to reality with the idea that something could happen to affect their holiday. However, he stressed the importance of insurance when it comes to protecting clients' investments.

Chambers shared some habits of top-selling agents that could be integrated into any agent's workflow to help increase travel insurance sales.

First, he said, CSA's highest-selling agents simply look at insurance as another part of the sale.

"They almost assume the sale, you know?" he said. "[They say], 'OK, so we've got your cruise locked down, we've got your dates and everything. Let's go ahead and look at travel insurance now because that's something you really need to have,' and just go along with that flow."

Agents should sell insurance with confidence, Chambers said, adding that some agents frame it as a necessity.

"One of the things that I've heard agents say is, 'Look - oftentimes a vacation could be your third biggest expense after your house and your car, and you protect those investments,'" he said. "'Why wouldn't you protect your vacation?'"

An agent should consider offering it for other reasons: If an agent does not offer a client travel insurance, Chambers said, there are cases where the agent could be held liable if something went wrong. Allianz Global Assistance echoed that, and even recommends that agents ask clients to sign a waiver if they decline insurance so there is a record of it.

A base level of knowledge about policies is also an important factor. For questions that go beyond that, either the travel professional or the client should call their provider.

He also encouraged agents close a sale using personal examples of insurance helping themselves or their clients. CSA, as well as other insurance providers, will generally provide such examples if agents don't have their own.

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