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For Travel Agents: Before Booking Travel Insurance for Your Clients

There are, of course, various travel insurance companies out there. How as a travel agent can you best find a reputable provider and reassure your clients that the insurance they're purchasing is legitimate and that the insurance provider can meet its obligations to them? For any agent, knowing the answers to the questions below is a way to make absolutely sure they are working with the right kind of insurer.

 

Have you asked a few questions about the travel insurance provider?

Is the insurer licensed to do business in your state? Selling an unlicensed insurance product is against the law and puts your business at risk. Make sure that your agency is also licensed to sell travel insurance. The laws about licensing vary by state, but the insurance company can facilitate the process for you.

 

Who is the underwriter for the insurance and what is their A.M. Best rating?
Licensed insurers are rated by A.M. Best – and other independent rating agencies – on their financial strength and ongoing ability to pay claims. A simple search on the A.M. Best web site will tell you if the company is rated and how highly. You will need to register, but it’s free. www.ambest.com

 

Does the insurance company have global capabilities?
Look for companies that have company-owned offices around the world that are dedicated to travel insurance and assistance.

 

What foreign language capabilities are provided by the insurance provider’s in-house associates?
You don’t want a critical medical procedure delayed because you can’t communicate with the physician. A reputable travel insurance and assistance provider will have associates on site who collectively speak as many as 40 different languages.

 

Are the insurer’s covered reasons for cancellation and interruption clearly spelled out in their travel insurance policies? 
It’s important that travel agents and customers understand what is and what is not covered.

 

Listen to your customer and read the insurer’s policy. Does the plan provide the coverage that they need? Many insurers offer different policies tailored to different travelers.  Be sure you’ve selected the right policy for your client.

 

Is the travel insurer a member of the United States Travel Insurance Association (USTIA)?
The members of USTIA agree to a code of ethics related to licensing, marketing and customer service.

 

photos: iStockPhoto.com

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