The saying, "the early bird gets the worm" is not only seasonal, but also appropriate in the travel insurance industry, no matter what time of year it is! For your clients' benefit, and to protect the health of your overall sales, it's very important to encourage clients to purchase travel insurance at the same time they book their holiday. In fact, the sooner the better.
- It's impossible to list all the things that could possibly go wrong before or during a trip. However, there are a few common causes of trip cancellation and interruption that you may want to discuss with your clients when they are considering a travel insurance purchase, including:
- A missed connection caused by an airline schedule change — the most common cause of trip cancellation and interruption claims!
- Illness of your client or of a loved one that occurs between the time they book and the day their trip begins.
Natural disasters that affect your clients' home or business and force them to cancel or return home from their trip.
It's essential that you remind clients they're only protected against financial loss if they have coverage — should something go wrong between the time they purchase their tickets and the time their holiday begins, they won't be covered unless they've already purchased the insurance.
Issuing this coverage right away reduces the risk of liability for you and your agency.
When you issue coverage right away there is less chance of forgetting to issue the insurance for your client at a later time.
One easy way to encourage a client to book travel insurance in advance is to position it as part of your client's must-have pre-trip checklist. That list may include getting vaccinated, purchasing traveller's cheques, or even checking the condition of their luggage. When you position it as a critical component of planning a successful trip, the act of buying insurance will seem natural.
- If clients are reluctant to commit early, consider sharing a few of the scenarios about what can go wrong on a trip, and then make a strong recommendation to purchase the coverage at the time of booking.
- If, at the time of booking, your clients decline your offer of insurance, it is very important that they sign a Liability Release Form (formerly known as a Waiver Form) agreeing that they've decided not to purchase travel insurance.
The Liability Release Form is great for overcoming client objections. For the customer who is undecided, or convinced they have sufficient travel insurance coverage elsewhere, this piece helps to point out that other travel insurance coverage is usually lacking in benefits by encouraging the customer to check their credit card coverage or group benefits to ensure the coverage meets their expectations. It also serves as a record in your file that the customer has formally waived the offer of travel insurance.
In the unusual event that a client declines to purchase travel insurance at booking, but later decides to go ahead with the policy 48 hours or more after making their trip deposit/payment, you are no longer required to contact RBC Insurance® to obtain a Late Authorization and Late Issue Endorsement. This process change simplifies the booking process for you and allows clients to make their insurance purchase at any point before departure provided they are not in a claim situation.
If you have any questions regarding the late issuance procedural change or other travel insurance-related matters, please contact our National Sales Contact Centre at 1-800-387-4357 or your business development manager.
Your clients will appreciate your help in planning ahead so that they can begin their holiday worry-free.
You and your employees can reap the benefits
Your clients want insurance protection when they travel. And, your employees want the same sense of well-being at work with a comprehensive health benefits package.
An RBC group insurance advisor can provide you with a customized group benefits program that meets the needs of you and your employees.
We invite you to obtain a quote today.
Contact RBC Group Insurance Advisory Services toll-free at 1-888-441-6120 or
e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Test your knowledge and win!
Just answer the questions below for a chance to win $200. $1,000 in total prizes!
Answer the following questions for a chance to win $200. Fill in your
personal information and fax your entry to 905-816-2440 or toll-free to
1-888-298-6458. Answer all four questions correctly and you could be one of five
lucky winners to receive $200 each!
The deadline for entries is July 21 at 5 p.m. EDT. Winners will be randomly drawn on July 28, 2006. Names will be published in a future issue of the Insider . For details about the publication of names, please check the rules and regulations.
The interruption portion of Trip Cancellation and Interruption insurance starts when clients:
Arrive at their destination
You no longer need to contact RBC Insurance® to obtain a Late Authorization and Late Issue Endorsement if the client decides to purchase travel insurance:
Within 24 hours of making their trip deposit/payment
Within 48 hours of making their trip deposit/payment
More than 48 hours after making their trip deposit/payment
The Online Sales Kits will help your agency by providing:
Paper brochures and flyers about purchasing travel insurance from RBC Insurance online
Easily customized travel insurance marketing materials that can be used on your agency's website
Promotional items for your agency to give away with every Travel Insurance policy from
RBC Insurance that is sold online
Government health insurance plans:
Cover most unforeseeable events travellers may face
Come with the round-the-clock support of Assured Assistance Inc.
May exclude and/or limit payments for emergency medical expenses
Rules and regulations
1. Only one entry per person.
2. There is a limit of one prize per person.
3. Prizes must be accepted as awarded. No substitutions or transfers allowed.
4. Winning entrant expressly consents to the publication of his or her name, agency and affiliation.
This information will not be used for any other purpose than awarding contest prizes.
5. RBC Insurance Company of Canada and Assured Assistance Inc. employees are not eligible.
Winners from last issue's contest!
Carlson Wagonlit Strathroy
Regal Vacations Tours & Travel
Congratulations to all our Winter contest winners! Be sure to fill out the form to enter our Spring/Summer Contest.
Harness the power of the web with the new Online Sales Kit
Here's a valuable opportunity to harness the power of the web to drive travel insurance revenue and increase customer loyalty.
The RBC Insurance® Online Sales Kit brings you a selection of easily customized travel insurance marketing materials based on the best the web has to offer. Easy-to-use and clearly described in a step-by-step user guide, the materials will help you attract and hold online visitors — and generate sales.
Many of you requested online sales materials that are customer-friendly and get results. We responded by investing considerable time researching the best practices found in web advertising and the travel insurance industry, and have assembled them into a series of interactive tools including splash pages and animated ads for you to choose from.
Many agencies are already benefiting from the kit and we expect full distribution to all 100% Alliance travel partners by the end of summer — in time for the busy Fall season.
This is another example of our commitment to saving you time while helping you increase your revenue through travel insurance sales. Be sure to benefit from our over 35 years' travel experience and put the RBC Insurance Online Sales Kit to work for you.
You're in good company with RBC Financial Group® — here's why
RBC Financial Group has been named "Canada's Most Respected Corporation" for the fourth consecutive year. It swept six of nine categories, including best long-term investment, corporate governance and corporate social responsibility.
This is an honour we are proud to share with you, our 100% Alliance program members. You've worked hard serving millions of Canadian travellers and have become a leader in a competitive and rapidly changing industry. In doing so, you have helped maintain the RBC Financial Group brand strength and respected position.
The results followed a 2005 annual survey by Ipsos Reid for KPMG, and marks the sixth time in the past 11 years that RBC Financial Group has been recognized in this way.
Assured Assistance Inc. "Spotlight"
A client with a medical emergency in a foreign country faces obstacles he or she would not encounter at home. Language differences, climatic extremes and the unknown are just a few.
Martha Turnbull is an active registered nurse and director of operations for Assured Assistance Inc. (AAI) and has seen her share of emergencies involving tourists travelling abroad. "Every medical and travel situation is different but one thing that doesn't change is the client's need to have someone ready to help who understands how to get an action plan in place, beginning with the right treatment from the right source."
AAI is part of RBC Financial Group® and is one of the largest emergency assistance companies in North America. The company supports millions of travellers and manages almost 400,000 calls from insured travellers every year. Its medical support levels are unsurpassed in the industry. When your clients purchase Travel Insurance from RBC Insurance, they're also buying the expertise of AAI.
AAI understands how to make things go smoothly when something goes wrong for a client in a foreign country. For example, AAI specialists will communicate vital health coverage information to local health-care providers in their own language. They will put together an action plan that involves securing proper care to arranging payment to helping the client get home safely. Understanding what travellers are going through, providing information on what to expect and following up to make sure things are going according to plan are elements of what AAI does to help travellers.
"When you buy an insurance policy, you receive a promise from the insurer to pay. When you purchase a policy from RBC Insurance, you receive a promise to pay and to help. It's the understanding and helping that's critical in these situations," says Turnbull.
Five ways to put AAI to work in helping you to build sales
- As part of the RBC Financial Group, and part of the RBC Insurance team, AAI is positioned to make important decisions faster. This can lead to faster and better patient treatment and payment resolution.
- As a global leader, AAI is well connected to leading health-care providers around the world. Its impeccable reputation ensures that clients receive timely and professional treatment wherever they may be. AAI views medical providers as both business partners and clients.
- Thanks to our integrated information platform, teamwork and organizational structure, claims are processed efficiently and quickly.
- Due to competitive medical provider contracting practices and economies of scale, clients not only receive the best care but pay competitive premiums.
- Large investments in telecommunications and information systems that our competitors cannot afford help ensure that AAI is always up and running, even in the face of natural disasters, which would leave other medical support providers unable to respond.
For you, the advantages of working with AAI are many. Rather than work with several companies, including an independent broker, you are working with only one in a "one-stop" setting. You also benefit from the integrated team of the assistance provider (AAI) and the insurer (RBC Insurance) as paperwork is reduced, overlap is eliminated and claims are paid in a timely fashion. But the most important advantage of having AAI provide support to your clients is that you have the assurance of knowing your clients will receive the help they need when they need it most.
Turnbull concludes, "Emergencies happen anywhere at any time. Insuring your clients with RBC Insurance means your clients have the promise of help, support and resources when they need it the most and that's why it makes sense to recommend they purchase travel insurance from RBC Insurance — we will be there for your clients when they need us."
Teleconference seminars on target
I was glad I managed to participate at this afternoon's session of the teleconference seminars. I feel it is a brilliant idea as it's convenient, efficient and saves time for both you and us (the agents).
I was away and would have missed this learning opportunity if not for your frequent and much appreciated followup and reminders. I thank you for your time and effort in arranging the teleconference seminars. Your dedication and professionalism are admirable.
It's a pleasure working with you, which is a reason why RBC Insurance is our preferred supplier for travel insurance.
Thanks again and best wishes to you in 2006!
Popular Choice International
A division of Popular Choice Travel Inc.
The importance of purchasing travel insurance early
The names and dates have been changed, but this story is based on a real event.
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith decided to book a cruise to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. They booked their trip on May 1 and their ship was scheduled to set sail on September 8. The Smiths were looking forward to the two-week cruise – their trip of a lifetime.
The travel agent did not offer travel insurance to the clients when they booked their trip because the agent knew that the cruise company's cancellation penalties didn't come into effect until 60 days before departure. The clients delayed their travel insurance purchase until just before the date penalties came into effect.
But on May 15, well before the policy was purchased, Mrs. Smith informed her husband that she found a lump in her breast. She was frightened and visited her doctor the same day. After a series of doctor's appointments and tests, Mrs. Smith was informed that she had breast cancer. She was told she needed surgery and might have to undergo chemotherapy. The Smiths were devastated.
The surgery was scheduled for September, one week before their trip. Mr. Smith called the travel agent to cancel the trip. He also called RBC Insurance to report his claim.
As Mrs. Smith's condition was under investigation before the effective date of her policy (the date it was purchased), the claim was not paid. Had the Smiths purchased travel insurance when their cruise was booked on May 1, the claim would have been paid, and they would not have been out of pocket because the effective date of the policy would have preceded any investigations into her medical problem.
As the story above illustrates, it is very important that you recommend purchasing travel insurance when the trip is initially booked — even though cruise company penalties may not come into effect until much closer to the cruise date. You can help save your clients the disappointment and the financial consequences the Smiths experienced by explaining that the policy goes into effect on the day it is purchased.
The importance of interruption insurance
"Trip cancellation" can be a dangerous term to use in front of your clients. That's because it doesn't mention the interruption portion of Trip Cancellation and Interruption (TCI) insurance — an important but often misunderstood part of any traveller's vacation plans. Although the law in Ontario states that you must provide the client with the option to purchase this insurance, many clients across Canada (including Ontario) don't fully understand its importance.
The interruption portion of TCI insurance starts when the client leaves home and provides unlimited coverage until the end of their holiday. The fact that coverage is unlimited is a key selling point for this insurance. Unlike cancellation insurance, which covers losses that occur before the trip starts and covers only the lost cost of the trip, there is no limit to how much of the cost interruption insurance will cover to get clients back home from their trip.
With more than 35 years of experience in the travel insurance industry, RBC Insurance® knows the value of purchasing TCI insurance at the time of deposit. For example, the travel insurance from the RBC Insurance policy brochure lists 42 events covered by the Deluxe Package. Over the years we've added additional covered risks based on our claims experience.
Last-minute travellers and TCI insurance
Last-minute travellers may not appreciate the value of TCI insurance. What can go wrong between the time they pay for the trip and when they take off? With the departure date quickly approaching, they feel they can put their money to better use.
In their excitement, they may not realize that many deposits are non-refundable and that all trips contain non-refundable portions. In addition, the Non-Medical Package also covers travel accidents or lost baggage.
But the real question becomes, how do you best meet the needs of these clients while closing more sales? First, position the value of insurance up front when you are booking the trip and discussing limitations and conditions. Highlight non-refundable portions of the package as good reasons to purchase insurance in order to protect the client's investment. If the client declines, have them review the new Liability Release Form (formerly Waiver Form) while the trip is being booked. If they're booking by phone, e-mail the form for their review as the trip is being booked on the system. This can help clients come to their own decision to purchase travel insurance as they think twice about signing a liability release.
Consider the following:
- Using the form to upsell. Clients who wish to purchase the Non-Medical Package may decide that the Deluxe Package is a better option when asked to sign the form.
- When clients decline travel insurance, consider reading the form to them before presenting it for their signature.
- Taking the final opportunity to close the sale when they pick up their tickets. You can enclose a copy of the form for their signature when mailing travel documents.
To order a supply of Liability Release Forms, contact your local National Sales Contact Centre at 1-800-387-4357.
The cancellation portion occurs before the trip starts and covers only the loss of the cost of the trip.
Frequently asked questions
Is it always necessary for the client to go through the underwriting process by completing the medical questionnaire?
Not always. There are two scenarios where the client would not be required to go through the underwriting process.
Scenario 1 - Client is travelling for 15 days or less
When under 75 years old and travelling for 15 days or less, the client has the option of not filling out the medical questionnaire and taking TravelCare® Silver Plus coverage. This will give the client Medical Exclusion #2 (180 days of stability), which will permit them to travel with coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.
Scenario 2 - Client is travelling for longer than 15 days, but not exceeding 60 days
For a client under 75 years old and travelling for 60 days or less, the best option is to purchase a Deluxe Package.
Note: These two options are important when dealing with someone who is considering the possibility of travelling outside of their province with no coverage on pre-existing conditions. They eliminate the need for the special underwriting process.
Are policy details sent directly to our client if we provide the e-mail address?
Simply input the e-mail address in Sabre, Apollo or World Protect® systems and the policy will be e-mailed to your client as a PDF attachment.
Do clients need to buy insurance when travelling outside of their home province but within Canada? Or, does the government health insurance plan cover them when they are out of their home province?
Government health insurance plans (GHIPs) aren't designed to cover everything. GHIPs can exclude and/or limit the payments for the emergency medical expenses clients incur while they are away from their home province or territory. Some provincial health plans cover only sickness and accidents that occur inside your client's home province.
For instance, coverage for emergency medical care outside of the home province may not include costs for:
- Ambulance services (ground or air), private nursing, X-rays, wheelchairs and crutches, prescription drugs, emergency dental treatments, return and repatriation of remains.
These services could cost your clients thousands of dollars. Travel Within Canada coverage from RBC Insurance covers what GHIP does not, so your client is not paying for duplicate coverage. Travel Within Canada coverage also includes Trip Cancellation and Interruption insurance, lost baggage and Flight and Travel Accident coverage. Purchasing this coverage also means clients travel with round-the-clock support from Assured Assistance Inc. to help in any travel or medical emergency.
Frequently asked questions are provided for informational purposes only. Coverage is governed by the terms and conditions of the Travel Insurance Policy. Please refer to the policy for complete coverage information.
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