Jamie Biesiada
Jamie Biesiada

Travel insurance continues to be a benefit to agents. It's an additional commission, and it can help clients during a number of situations, whether it's a lost bag or — more seriously — a medical emergency. 

The majority of agents I talk to offer clients insurance every time they book a trip for them, talking about its value and the protections it offers (especially coverage allowing trip cancellations for any reason, which can be very useful for nervous travelers).

There's just one problem: the client. 

Agents tell me it's far from uncommon to have a client reluctant to spend the extra money on insurance, even though it's just a fraction of the cost of their total trip. "I'm going no matter what!" has to be one of the most common responses to being offered insurance, but the reality of the matter is that there are numerous things that could prevent travel.

There are indications that Americans' attitudes toward travel insurance are changing. Generali Global Assistance recently reviewed insurance sales and found that the average cost of a trip consumers insured in 2017 was lower than it was the previous year, which could indicate that awareness has grown.

Insurers have also been working to raise awareness about insurance with consumers, and disruptive events like natural disasters have helped highlight insurance's benefits.

But still, it can be a hard sell to some clients. So here is some ammunition to use the next time you have an insurance-reluctant client, courtesy of Allianz Global Assistance's director of assistance, Kimberly Seay. 

Seay recently compiled her top 10 reasons to buy insurance. She would know — she runs the department that answers the phone when something goes wrong.

Sharing Seay's list of the benefits of having travel insurance with reluctant clients in full or in part could push them to buy coverage:
1. Healthcare — Allianz Global Assistance will be sure that you are getting the care you need at the right facility.
2. Transport — if you get injured during your trip and need medical assistance, we are committed to getting you, even if condition warrants an upgraded seat, nurse escort or an air ambulance.
3. Lost passport — we will help you get in contact with the proper channels to get a replacement.
4. Concierge service — it's available with just a call, and we will help you arrange that special dinner, concert or hotel.
5. Country requirements/opportunities — pretrip, we'll provide you with any entry requirements of the country or sightseeing opportunities.
6. Prescription lost — we will help you find a provider that will assist with replacement.
7. Lost luggage — we will work with the airline to help locate.
8. Bedside visit — if you are injured and alone (seven days), we will pay for a loved one to come to you.
9. Return of dependents — if you are injured and have underage children with you, we will bring them home.
10. Peace of mind — knowing that we are here 24/7 to assist, anywhere, anytime.

If you need a little more ammunition than that, focus on the healthcare aspect. 

American insurance typically doesn't cover users outside the country. Let a client know how expensive it could be if they need to be evacuated in an air ambulance.

According to Seay, an air ambulance from the Caribbean could cost from $15,000 to $25,000; South America, $40,000 to $75,000; Europe, $65,000 to $90,000; and Australia, $165,000 to $225,000. 

And that doesn't include the medical bills.


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