Americans embrace travel insurance as a hedge against Olympic hassles
The 2012 Summer Olympics have provided a welcome boost for airlines, hotels and other travel suppliers that will benefit from an expected jump of more than 30 percent in the number of global travelers going to London compared to the same period in 2011. Now it appears that travel insurance providers are among those experiencing a strong uptick in sales. Richmond, VA-based Allianz Global Assistance USA, the country’s leading provider of travel insurance and travel assistance, says that sales of travel insurance to Americans headed to London between late July and early September are up by 36 percent compared to the previous summer. The company also found that Allianz Travel Insurance customers will stay in London longer than usual and one in five are using frequent flyer miles to get there.
“Summer travel to Europe is always strong, but the 2012 London Olympics is creating a perfect storm of potential headaches for travelers,” said Robert Pearson, Director of Market Intelligence at Allianz Global Assistance USA. “Unexpected illness or injury, significant airline delays and lost or delayed baggage are some of the concerns that consumers have when traveling and they are using travel insurance as a strategy to mitigate those risks.”
The 36 percent uptick in sales of Allianz Travel Insurance exactly matches an expected 36 percent increase in Americans headed to London during the Olympics compared to those going to London last summer, according to a study by Amadeus and Forward Keys, a travel data intelligence firm (http://new.amadeusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/ForwardKeys-Olympic-whitepaper.pdf). That surge is expected to lead to increased pressure on travel infrastructure which may translate to longer delays and more lost or misdirected baggage. In addition to coverage for travel-related losses, Allianz Global Assistance provides travelers with 24/7 emergency travel assistance, which can help Americans navigate any medical or travel related situation they may encounter while in London.
The company also found that their customers’ trips to London during the Olympics will last about 26 days, which is 22 percent longer than the average visit to London last summer. Longer stays increase the chance that a traveler may become ill, injured or experience some other event which may require them to file a travel insurance claim or seek emergency travel assistance.
Allianz Travel Insurance customers are also using frequent flyer miles to purchase their tickets to London in greater numbers than usual. The percentage of travelers using frequent flyer miles to travel to London during the Olympics is 20 percent, compared to 14 percent who used their miles last summer. Many airlines may charge up to $150 per ticket to redeposit frequent flyer miles when a customer changes their plans. Allianz Travel Insurance offers products which will cover those redeposit fees when a customer cancels their trip for a reason covered by their policy.