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The travel insurance sector needs to evolve to address the changes in the business travel sector brought on by Brexit and the pandemic, says Emanuele Scansani, director of partnerships and strategic relations at Riskline.
With Brexit rendering the EHIC invalid, British travel insurers will no doubt see travel insurance uptake surge as UK travellers, who previously relied on the EHIC, begin to purchase travel insurance for their European business trips. Arguably, many travellers were already considering separate travel insurance arrangements due to the increased awareness of health risks brought about by the pandemic.
However, with or without the EHIC system, travel insurance remains essential for overseas trips as emergency medical costs, including emergency repatriation back to the UK, can run into tens of thousands of pounds. The UK government has also warned those with pre-existing medical conditions that it is ‘particularly important’ that they purchase travel insurance with the right cover as, while the EHIC scheme covered pre-existing conditions, many travel insurance policies do not.
Clear communication to cut through confusion
Insurers have a challenge ahead with a slew of new measures to navigate. Far from clarifying processes, the Brexit deal has brought with it many uncertainties which look set to affect business travellers when travelling to and from the UK. The current inconsistency in terms of rules and regulations and paperwork required means that travellers will demand greater clarity and communications at all stages of the travel process including when considering what type of insurance to purchase.
The purchasing journey will need to start well in advance of travel in order to allow time to navigate changing requirements. Brexit has led to uncertainty and guidelines will vary from one EU country to another. In short, the planning time for business travel now needs to be extended.
Technology to target the new traveller demographic
The purchasing journey will also need to keep up with changing expectations. A younger, more tech-savvy workforce has emerged over the past decade and is demanding more bang for their working buck. As corporate travel volumes slowly return to pre-pandemic levels over the course of the next year, demand will grow for a modern business travel experience, driven by the next generation. Millennials make up a larger portion of workers than ever before and are rapidly rising to management levels within their organisations. It’s well documented that this group of travellers have little patience or use for archaic, dated workplace technologies.
The insurance sector has traditionally been slower to adopt to technology, but this will have to change. The industry will need to evolve and adapt to technology, such as apps, to make their products appeal to a younger generation. We may see some partnerships in place that create a more user-friendly journey. For example, the rise of all in one travel booking and insurance offerings – insurance sellers could partner with TMCs to offer the full package (travel + insurance) in one place.
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