The Ins and Outs of Group Travel Insurance

Robert Crowder, founder and President of The Benefits Trust, has over 30 years of experience serving pension and employee benefits clients. In 1994, he founded The Benefits Trust as a Third Party Administrator serving small and mid-sized business across Canada. Through Rob Crowder's dedication and leadership, The Benefits Trust has grown into the successful benefits provider that it is today.

The Ins and Outs of Group Travel Insurance

As employee benefits advisors, we must act as translators. Effective communicators make the best (and most successful) advisors, and much of that comes down to translating confusing, jargon-infused insurance concepts into simple and easy-to-understand terms for our clients.

Group travel insurance is no exception. Travel insurance is often misunderstood and can be particularly confusing for clients and consumers, so it’s essential as an advisor to have a strong grasp on the ins and outs of group travel insurance and the ability to communicate that knowledge.

There is an array of options available when it comes to group travel insurance, from benefits plan add-ons and online options to credit card coverage and travel agencies. Mistakes with travel insurance can create a huge liability for the client, leading to those travel insurance horror stories you hear about in the media.

Let’s discuss group travel insurance and all you need to do to help your clients avoid the headlines and prepare for stress-free travel.

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How to Inform Your Clients for Group Effective Travel Insurance

For many people, travel insurance is like a car jack. You have it, but you don’t exactly know how to access or use it properly, and it only ever comes up in the middle of a huge inconvenience. But when you need it, you’re thankful it’s there!

As Canadians we’re used to accessing affordable healthcare, so we often lose touch of how quickly costs can incur in an emergency without insurance. The most expensive American states for Canadians to receive out-of-country medical care are Hawaii, California, and Florida. However, medical bills in any part of the world quickly add up, and even minor medical events can become financially challenging in an instant.

Know Your Coverage Before Travelling

When discussing travel insurance, it’s crucial to underline the importance of understanding the policy and how to use it. Knowing the details of a travel insurance policy helps to minimize the likelihood of a “car jack scenario” and works to alleviate a layer of stress during an already stressful scenario (not to mention, helping to smooth the process and minimize unnecessary fees).

Encourage clients to be aware of how many days will be covered outside of their province of residence and emphasize the fact that cutting it close is a poor strategy. If a flight is delayed or cancelled or if plans change, it’s important to be insured for the entire duration of the trip. Many providers won’t allow coverage to be extended while the user is abroad, so establishing the correct length of coverage (and purchasing any necessary top-up coverage) before departure is crucial.

Additionally, ensure that clients know how to access their insurer correctly. Research how to make a call to Canada from the destination, as it can sometimes cause problems depending on the location of travel. Organize phone numbers and email addresses so that, should an emergency occur, clients know what to do.

Not only should clients understand how to access their insurance and make claims, but they should know what is – and what isn’t – included in their policy. Review the stability period, the pre-existing condition clause, and family coverage elements.

Finally, communicate the importance of checking Canadian government travel advisories before travelling. Preexisting travel advisories often influence travel insurance coverage policies, with anticipated problems (such as certain diseases or risks of unrest in a particular country) often excluded from coverage. If something occurs once the traveler has already departed, however, that new advisory will be covered by insurance.

Outline Policy Assistance Contact 

Every travel insurance provider has an associated contact that assists policy users with questions, concerns, and processes. For GreenShield policies, this group is CanAssistance, but each provider has an equivalent.

Travelers should be encouraged to call well before departing on their trip to clear up any questions with designated pre-travel agents. This is also the point of contact for acquiring out-of-province medical care, and policy users (or someone in the travel party) should call ideally before seeking medical aid or shortly after in order to open an assistance file.

These phone numbers are operated 24/7 and connect users with representatives who can help provide directions to the nearest hospital or clinic to access the best available care, and they will confirm coverage. If possible, representatives will also handle payment directly to prevent policy users from making upfront payments and submitting claims afterwards.

By contacting the assistance associated with the policy, clients can also discuss follow-up treatment if further care is required. Translation services can also be provided in the case of a language barrier when accessing care.

Your Role as an Employee Benefits Advisor

As advisors, your role is to add value. Group travel insurance presents another opportunity for you to do so!

Advise your clients to take an active role and ensure that their employees make the most of the travel insurance provided to them. They can do this by educating their employees through lunch and learn events or through informative videos, and you, as an advisor, can help them in doing so. You can take it one step further and create a travel insurance checklist template (branded, with your name on it) for clients to distribute to their employees.

Communication is the foundation of a successful advisor-client relationship. Set up your client for travel success by communicating the details of their policies in a clear and understandable manner and continue to do so – discussing travel insurance on a seasonal basis is a great way to maintain that clarity and prepare clients for the high travel seasons. By communicating well, you set yourself apart from other advisors, and you pave the way for a smooth experience for your clients.

The key to seamless and secure travel experiences and valuable client relationships rests in proactive preparation, comprehensive education on insurance plans and their nuances, and clear, consistent communication.

As the largest independently owned third-party advisor in Canada, The Benefits Trust is here to guide you through the intricacies of group travel insurance. For more information and valuable resources on insurance advising, reach out to The Benefits Trust. We can help you to provide value to your clients through effective group travel insurance policies and develop strong, lasting relationships.

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