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War, Terrorism, and Civil Unrest Fuels Growth of Specialized Insurance, Says Industry Expert
New dangers such as terrorism can make even the ‘safest of places,’ like shopping malls and hotels potentially life-threatening environments
Travel insurance specialists and consultant McGovern Associates serves tour operators, cruise lines, vacation rental companies, and online travel agencies, among others. According to Bill McGovern, while specialized insurance has always existed for certain travelers such as diplomats and company employees in hostile regions, for the everyday traveler, modern threats have expanded beyond the risk of falling ill in a foreign country, theft and/or loss of personal property, and flight cancelations. New dangers such as terrorism can make even the “safest of places,” such as shopping malls, public transportation, and hotels potentially life-threatening environments.
“If your clients find themselves in the middle of a disturbance, most insurance coverage offer some assistance, such as getting them a one-way ticket out of the country,” said McGovern. “However, how do they get themselves to the airport if it’s a civil war that suddenly spilled into the streets, blocking the roads to the airport? What if the airport shuts down and there is no alternate public transportation?
He continued: “Helping travelers choose a protection plan thatincludes these features can prove valuable in terms of goodwill – but it will also minimize an agent’s legalliability.”
In addition to growing political unrest around the world, McGovern notes the popularity of adventure travel such as rafting and hiking in remote areas. While the vast majority of these trips are conducted in a safe, controlled environment, accidents do happen. As a result, insurance is available that offers search & rescue benefits. If a person should become lost, disoriented, or be reported missing while on the trip, the assistance company will pay the costs incurred to find them, which can be astronomical without insurance. This could include fuel, personnel costs, rental of motor vehicles, aircraft or helicopters, hovercraft, snowmobiles, horses, dogs, generators, and any other equipment necessary or deemed appropriate to find, recover, or rescue an individual.
McGovern recalls his own experience while in Nairobi, Kenya. “All of a sudden, the entire country went on strike and we were quarantined to a hotel that surrounded the park in which the demonstrators assembled,” he said. “They burned trees, killed people and fought with police. There was no escape for us. They could have easily stormed the open air hotel grounds at any time. The entire incident lasted for about two days and, needless to say, they were the most uncomfortable 48 hours of my life. It all ended well, but at any time, it could have gone badly very quickly.”
McGovern added: “Most travelers will fortunately never find themselves in a life-or-death situation like this while on vacation, but they are becoming keenly aware that the world is no longer as safe to travel in as it used to be. For travel professionals at every level, providing superior service to their customers also means helping them select the best travel insurance for their needs.”
About McGovern Associates
With more than three decades of experience in the travel insurance industry, McGovern Associates is led by founder and President Bill McGovern, a veteran licensed insurance professional with experience exclusively in travel protection. As account manager for the first-ever Tour Operator Protection program in 1984, he was a pioneer in the “white label” travel insurance industry in the United States, where he customized programs designed exclusively for the tour operator community. Recognizing passenger protection as a new profit center for travel companies, cruise lines, OTA’s, vacation rental providers, and airlines, he offers a “one-stop shopping” solution that provides the full range of insurance services including comprehensive program reviews, RFP services, insurance plan consulting, optimization and redesign, and program management. For more information, call 516-216-4626 or visit www.mcgovern-