If you want to understand how travel insurance is changing – and how it could change the way you travel this year – you need to meet Robin.
Robin (full name, Robin Assist) is a new technology-driven service platform used by insurance companies to process, among other things, travel insurance claims.
“Technology can really help you when you file a claim,” says Sasha Gainullin, CEO of battle face, the company that created Robin. “It can find the policy you have. It can eliminate the need for a claim form. It can identify the expenses you file under the policy.”
Tectonic shifts in travel insurance for 2023
Robin could change the way you file your travel insurance claim in 2023. Right now, travel insurance companies are sitting on hundreds of thousands of unprocessed claims from holiday air travel slumps. and even a few from this summer. Technology like Robin could dramatically speed up the process, reducing claims processing from weeks to minutes.
The fast payment trend is already accelerating, according to Dan Skilken, president of TripInsurance.com.
“US Fire and Nationwide have started emailing claim checks,” he says. “Once payment is approved, the check is emailed in PDF format. This cuts postal service delays in getting payments by at least five days.”
The changes in travel insurance are tectonic, say insiders. It’s not just about processing speed, but also about the types of coverage and other technologies offered by travel insurance companies.
“Travel insurance has experienced a renaissance over the past 24 months,” says Ross Caldwell Thompson, CEO of Covac Global. “Just as it evolved to cover more security-related issues after 9/11, post-pandemic travel insurance consumers are looking for solutions that take on more risk on their behalf when it comes to medical contingencies.”
It is also more popular than ever. The number of travelers planning to purchase travel insurance in 2023 will exceed the average of the past seven years, according to its latest Travel Insurance Status Report by Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. (For more information on buying the right policy, you can check out my free guide to travel insurance.)
So what are the big changes for 2023?
1. Smarter travel insurance apps
Some travel insurance companies have updated their apps to detect when a traveler changes their activities or potentially engages in a risky activity that isn’t covered, like renting a moped or driving off-road.
“The app then alerts the traveler to the risk and provides the option to purchase specific coverage for the activity,” says Frank Harrison, Americas Regional Safety Director at Worldwide travel protection.
Joe Cronin, President of International Citizens Insurance, also expects the next version of travel insurance apps to help find local pharmacies and hospitals, as well as doctors who speak your language. “They will also provide travel advice, including emergency phone numbers,” he says.
2. New travel insurance options
Travel insurance companies plan to introduce new features and products this year. Allianz travel insurance just introduced an optional Cancel Anytime upgrade for consumers in many states on its popular OneTrip Prime and OneTrip Premier plans.
“The Cancel Anytime upgrade can reimburse up to 80% of lost non-refundable travel costs if you cancel your trip for almost any unforeseeable reason that your plan doesn’t already cover,” said Allianz spokesperson Daniel Durazo. “And you can cancel up until the day of departure.”
These kinds of “cancel for any reason” options have been available for a while, but Allianz has introduced them in more policies on its website.
3. Even more policy customization
“There is a growing trend toward policy customization, with some insurers recognizing that the typical one-size-fits-all insurance policy doesn’t work well for today’s travelers,” says Adam St. John, CEO of Sitata. For example, his company offers travel insurance that covers all the basics, but allows travelers to further customize their coverage and choose what’s important to them.
“For example, if you’re the type of person who travels with a lot of gear, you might want to increase your baggage coverage limits,” says St. John. “If it’s a last minute trip, you might not want trip cancellation insurance because it can be expensive. This kind of flexibility allows our members to choose the right coverage for their needs.”
Personalization was a big trend last year, but experts say we should expect even more in 2023.
“Travelers will have more flexible plans that allow them to customize benefits, access self-service options, and provide an efficient and transparent claims process,” predicts Rajeev Shrivastava, CEO of Visitor coveragean insurance market.
4. Fewer direct payments
Travel insurance companies are investing heavily in technology that allows customers to avoid having to pay out of pocket for medical services. INF Visitor Service recently introduced a guaranteed cashless concierge assistance program. You know how your health insurance plan says it works with a large network of PPOs, but often providers don’t want to accept the plan? This fixes it.
“I think the biggest hurdle with travel insurance is that you still have to work on a reimbursement basis,” says PK Rao, CEO of INF Visitor Care. “We have set up concierge medical assistance that will take members’ appointments with their preferred providers and ensure the transaction is cashless, meaning there is no need for reimbursement of fees. medical.”
5. Better COVID coverage
As the pandemic recedes, travelers wanted more sensitive triggers for their COVID coverage. This includes the ability to return home and receive treatment at home instead of having to stay abroad. Travel insurance companies will refine their policies in 2023 to provide better COVID coverage, predicts Thompson of Covac Global.
“Relaxing traditional medical evacuation requirements, so customers can return to their home hospital without mandatory stays at a local hospital is the most effective innovation to come out in the industry in recent months. “, he adds.
6. A more streamlined claims process
“I expect travel insurance companies to improve their online claims portals in 2023 to make it easier to navigate and check the status of claims,” predicts Stan Sandberg, co-founder of the travel insurance site. AssuranceVoyage.com. “The most common complaint we hear about the industry is dissatisfaction with the claims experience.”
Robin is just one of many travel insurance platforms trying to streamline a claims process traditionally bogged down by paperwork. For example, fay lets you file claims in-app in just minutes. The company also pays claims through a secure digital debit card called Faye Wallet, so you’re not waiting for a check in the mail. “You can use the Faye Wallet card by adding it to Apple Wallet or Google Wallet, or you can simply transfer the funds directly to your bank account,” says Faye spokeswoman Lauren Gumport.
Robin’s approach goes beyond faster payouts. Its platform offers other travel insurance companies many benefits, including multilingual customer support, emergency medical evacuation and travel assistance, medical case management, and access to global medical and disaster control networks. costs. In other words, it takes care of almost everything.
Read this before buying travel insurance
As exciting as these developments in travel insurance may seem, the reality is this: travel insurance is a highly regulated product that, by its nature, is slow to change. So while you’ll see new choices, smarter apps, and faster claims processing, the fact is, it’ll be very similar, if not identical, to the policy you bought last year.
Plus, you may already be covered by your auto insurance, home insurance, or credit card.
“Before you buy insurance, you need to check what type of insurance you already have,” says Pallavi Sadekar, operations manager at VisitorGuard.com“That might be useful.”