The traveller may need a risk mitigation plan

Two men look on. Before them a man is made ready for evacuation from the forested site. The man lies on his back and face up on a stretcher, motionless — his face bearing pain marks. Behind the on-lookers is an aircraft, or what was, with an intact hinde but crushed front. It attempted digging into the ground under it. There is seemingly what resembles the rotor blade. Bits of it must have flown off as it force-landed amongst the trees, cutting their trunks on its descent. Its the scene of a helicopter crash and a rescue mission is underway. It isn’t clear to the observer whether the aircraft or any of its crew had anticipated this happening mid-flight and had mitigation plans in place.

A few more pages into the pamphlet, the size of an average iphone tablet, and the words “Travel the world with the most affordable insurance rates in town” appear planted to the lower end of the pamphlet’s spine. The rest of the page reveals a table with ages, costs and destinations covered by the insurer’s travel insurance package. All this situated to attract and hold a readers eye, perhaps a traveller.

Despite the effort, travel insurance is not well liked by many a people. An online survey of 2045 adults done by ABTA, an asscciation for UK-based travel agencies, between the 1st and 2nd of May this year unearthed the scale of the dislike. In this poll, ABTA found 38% of British holiday makers travelling abroad had no travel insurance. A further 21% had travelled without insurance the year before. A staggering 37% didn’t think it was even needed. More to that, 28% said it was a risk they were willing to take. When the association scaled their results across the general UK population, the figure of holiday makers without travel insurance was 8.6 million.

ABTA’s report may not be the only one of its kind. A travel website did a survey of their own comprising 2000 Britons between 12th to 15th March 2019. Its findings were equally similar. It found 29% of people didn’t take an insurance cover. At a more granular level, one in three people reckoned they didn’t need it. Another one in four didn’t think they were travelling too far to warrant the expense. The website found that as a percentage 51% of those travelling for less than a week did not take out an insurance.

These behavioural patterns seem to be irrational in light of recent travel-related events, and given the benefits that travel insurance offers the typical traveller. The insurer that publishes the pamphlet this writer found himself reading, points out that their offer covers “medical emergencies while travelling in Europe and Schengen countries” as well as worldwide.

Trip cancellations, loss of luggage and luggage delays are also well catered for. There’s more. Follow-up treatment and personal accident between airport of departure and airport of destination come embedded therein. These appear standard features that come with most travel packages when one looks around at similar offerings by other insurers.

Adroit market research, an Indian-based consultancy and analytics firm, predicts insurers stand to benefit from the growth in global tourism. It reckons the market size for travel insurance will exceed $35 billion by 2025 with the medical expense segment seeing most growth. This growth, it says, will be in the asia-pacific region with China, Japan and Korea leading in demand. For the average traveller, it means lower premiums and a wider choice spectrum to choose from as more insurance companies position themselves to partake of the boom in travel.

There remain risks however. The un’s world tourism organisation noted a 4 percent increase in international tourism between January and june of this year. It estimates there were 671 million international tourist arrivals, 30 million more than in 2018. Strong economies, affordable air travel, increased air connectivity and enhanced visa facilitation were major contributors.

Even with such optimism, there is need for risk averseness. The aviation skies have been turbulent this year with unprofitable airlines getting acquired by rivals or grounding their fleets altogether. Albercook went bankrupt. The world saw catastrophic design failures of Boeing, an aircraft manufacturer. With many disruptive happenings yet unseen, it may be more rational to have mitigation plans in place lest an unexpected hitch in your travel itinerary ruin the entire experience. A travel insurance package on your next trip could go along way in that regard.

 

Comboni@ofualokapost.com

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