Original Italian version of this article, published at page 22 of the latest Travel for business magazine: https://www.flipsnack.com/F95DDF6D75E/travel-for-business-magazine-n-14-maggio-2021.html
The current pandemic and a series of recent events have increased the need for a greater sense of security and safety for our travellers. To this end an ever greater number of companies are considering two very different but extremely important forms of protection: travel insurance and travel assistance services. Both service offers are important when planning a trip because no matter how strong your company’s travel risk management process is, there is always a chance for accidents or emergencies occurring along the way, thus companies need to provide for on-trip assistance and emergency response as part of their travel risk management programme.
Understanding the difference between the two services is essential as a company has to provide the best protection possible before the traveller leaves for their destination.
What is Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is normally a policy that is acquired prior to a trip and serves the purpose of reimbursing losses occurred during the trip. Typically, travel insurance provides coverage for interruptions such as delays, cancellations, lost or stolen baggage. However, other insurable eventualities such as accidents, medical evacuation or repatriation, medical emergencies, car accidents, accidental death or injury can be covered.
The defining aspect of travel insurance is that, unlike travel assistance, it is activated after the unexpected event occurs; the money invested in a cancelled business trip is recovered or incurred medical expenses reimbursed. Basically, the insurance company reimburses the policyholder or the authorised beneficiary according to terms and conditions of the insurance policy.
What is Travel Assistance?
Travel assistance is often related to medical and security emergency services when travelling and can on occasion be used interchangeably with the term travel insurance, however, the benefits of a travel assistance programme are far greater. First and foremost travel insurance programs require the traveler to experience a loss while elite travel assistance programs are able to provide benefits without requiring the traveler to go through an event. In other words, while the first compensates a loss, the second is a service that supplies a response when the traveller has need for immediate assistance.
Travel assistance programs usually cover the costs associated with travel concierge, emergency medical support, and travel security assistance. The traveller’s assistance services are activated immediately an incident has been reported or, in the case of a natural disaster or coup d’état, automatically.
A traveller that finds themselves in a country hit by an earthquake would have access to support services that would assist them in the immediate aftermath, throughout the evacuation process, and until they have returned to their home or office. The same in the case of a coup d’état, revolution or collapse of social and political stability.
Should the traveller require medical assistance, the policy would be activated immediately and all of the necessary on-site support, such as identifying the most appropriate medical facility and accompanying the traveller to the location, given until such a time as the individual has returned home.
It is important to understand that the lack of emergency response services in travel insurance plans has now made travel assistance cover a necessary investment for many companies.
Over the past few years, travel assistance programmes have grown in popularity despite being mainly limited to the evacuation of travellers for individual problems as opposed to before or during an escalation of the security or health status of the area where they find themselves. The global increase in terror and crime related events and, above all, the complications brought about by the Covid pandemic, have increased the need for assistance that is available before and during both single person and mass events involving the traveller.
PTG and FocusPoint provide companies with qualified travel assistance services
In order to supply qualified travel assistance services, PTG chose FocusPoint as a partner because of their highly distinguished offer and experience.
Focus Point distinguish themselves in particular for:
- offering a fully funded service guarantee which covers travellers from the beginning through to the completion of their journey;
- covering not only the business aspects but also during any periods of ‘bleisure’ when the traveller wouldn’t normally benefit from insurance cover;
- not being a classic insurance product, the program is able to cover the traveler’s safety thorough a wide range of perils.
Basically the PTG and FocusPoint programme should not be considered as simply ‘another insurance product’ but a product that in addition to the basic services covers a series of critical issues.
Of particular importance is that, on the contrary to other providers’ offers, there are no extra expenses. Let’s see a concrete example:
A company had one of their employee stuck in a hotel in Kuwait who kept giving false positive Covid test results. Kuwait would not let him fly out as a normal passenger circumstances. By turning it into a medivac incident (really a employee welfare issue as he was not sick) the employee went home to Spain. The Medivac Kuwait to Spain charge was $80,000 extra from their travel assistance plan. This is a standard charge for this type of service and corporate are family with and pay the fee, then claim back of insurance.
In our assistance plan all costs are declared in advance and therefore there are no surprises or add-on costs in the event of the policy being activated. With no hidden costs to take into consideration, companies can budget correctly for their cover.
Our assistance plan is ‘cover that covers you’ and not simply an instrument to use in order to cover medical expenses or the loss of a flight or luggage. We put the traveller in contact with expert assistance in loco when it’s needed. In the case of a medical emergency, we facilitate care outside of the four walls of the medical facility, whereas medical insurance takes care of the treatment inside the four walls.
Pyramid Temi Group and Focus Point have partnered in order to offer a world class solution to travel risk management, so if you’re concerned that one of your employees might have to address any of the examples cited above, contact us as we have the solution.