Travel insurance can bring out the negatives of this business. We have to be cognizant of it and we need to sell it to protect against the bummers of travel including the weather, delays, interruptions and cancellations, as well as lost luggage and so forth; not to mention, the unforeseen medical situation. You get the point.
As part of my sales information form and contract, I do include a piece about travel insurance and require them to formally accept or decline the insurance. I find this a must because as we all know, anything can happen. I recently had a client on an Italian vacation. They had a flight cancellation, a flight delay and lost luggage. Unfortunately, they opted out of insurance.
It was not for lack of trying. Several months before departure, I met with them and explained travel insurance and its benefits. Throughout the process, the client insisted that they never took travel insurance and never needed it. I again expressed that in this day in age, you just never know. I even gave them a final chance when I delivered their travel documents, about a week before departure. They declined, and they took off for their month long adventure to Italy and beyond.
Their connecting flight was cancelled, they were put on another flight which caused them to miss their train which caused their pick up in Sorrento to be delayed; and in the process, their luggage was also lost or delayed and finally found its way back to them on the 4th day of their trip.
But as we know, a travel agent is not necessarily off the hook. I had to act as their advocate for compensation, re-arranging their travel and calling in favors based on my relationships with the suppliers—all to make a client’s trip as wonderful as possible. While I tried to be as empathetic as possible, I was frustrated that they only took my advice when it was convenient for them.
The airline’s policies are the airline’s policies; and the client’s out of pocket was not huge in this case. At the time, they still had 3 weeks left of traveling and who knows what could happen. On one hand I feel like I need to help them out, but on the other I feel bad for taking that time away from my other clients.
Travel insurance is a necessary evil today, if you have it and don’t need it, that is the price you pay; but if you do not have it and you need it usually ends up being an even bigger price. I have even talked to travel professionals, some who take it and some who don’t. I always do. What are your thoughts? Do you sell it to your clients all the time? How about you personally? Are you a “do as I say not as I do” kind of agent?
Jamison has traveled to over 40 countries, including most of Europe. Wandering Puffin LLC. Is located in Minneapolis, MN. Jamison can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 763-244-0669.www.wanderingpuffin.com.