Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (BHTP) offers travel insurance and trip protection to US travellers originating from the US, vacationing around the world. Since launching in 2014, BHTP has been addressing the misconception that some consumers may have toward travel insurance companies, including the widespread misunderstanding that the claims experience is intentionally difficult, and that providers are seeking reasons not to pay claims. BHTP is strategically focused on demystifying these myths and misconceptions.
Travel is continuously evolving, so travel insurance must also evolve. It is critical that global travel insurance providers remain aware of the trends and use them to inform and encourage both product development and claims experience improvement. But how do travel insurance companies, long perceived as stagnant and unchanging, adapt to this rapidly evolving landscape?
Combining product with payment technology
BHTP’s first product innovation, AirCare, was introduced as part of our launch, and combined never-before-seen travel insurance benefits with new claims payment technology as a means to showcase our market differentiation: fixed benefits. These benefits are for common travel inconveniences such as flight departure delays, tarmac delays, missed connections and luggage delays. These fixed benefits are just that: fixed and established based on industry average claim amounts, not the common ‘up to’ maximum benefit limits based on qualified expenses incurred. Once it is determined, the traveller qualifies for the fixed benefit coverage, and they are paid the full benefit amount, no receipts required.
Fixed benefits in travel insurance are also often referred to as parametric insurance.
So what exactly is parametric in the context of travel insurance? It’s very straightforward in a practical sense. It is an agreement to make a payment upon the occurrence of a qualifying, triggering event. As an example, our AirCare plan will auto-pay a traveller once a flight departure is delayed by two hours. No need to file a claim. No need to provide receipts. Travellers can elect to receive their reimbursement by traditional mailed cheque, or electronically via PayPal or direct deposit, which can occur while the insured is still travelling.
With AirCare, we were one of the first travel insurance providers to offer consumers immediate relief for travel inconveniences. Since that first introduction of parametric travel insurance in 2014, these benefits are becoming increasingly common in the US travel insurance market as consumers demand added relief from common potential travel mishaps that are at the forefront of their minds when planning their vacations.
Driven by the market
Travel insurance providers should continually focus on keeping travel enjoyable by innovating and adapting their core offerings in order to protect consumers’ vacations.
We are living in a time of monumental changes, with global events having a significant impact on the travel and tourism industry. For example, according to our latest State of Travel Insurance (SOTI) report, trip costs and fears of flight disruptions are the top two responses when consumers were asked to name the most important reason to buy travel insurance. With that in mind, travellers are looking to protect both their travel investment and vacation experience when booking their trips.
Travel is continuously evolving, so travel insurance must also evolve
BHTP’s recognition of travellers wanting ease and convenience when solving travel disruptions is why it launched ExactCare Extra in 2017, the first of its kind to bundle parametric flight inconvenience benefits with traditional, comprehensive coverage, giving customers both trip investment and travel inconvenience protection. We followed up that product strategy in 2018 with WaveCare, a cruise travel insurance plan with both traditional, comprehensive coverage and inconvenience benefits specific to cruise disruption, such as cruise itinerary diversions or ship disablement.
Claims payment innovation
BHTP is the travel insurance brand under Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI), and its strategic pillar, ‘Claims is
our product’, is adopted from the company’s global commitment to claims handling excellence and transparency.
What does that mean for travel insurance claims? It means that our priorities are meeting customers’ demands for a seamless online claims experience.
To best meet evolving customer experience expectations, insurance product and payment technology innovation go hand-in-hand. In the midst of the travel disruption, from ‘flightmares’ to public health scares, travellers are looking for policies that are easy to comprehend and a claims process that is simple, straightforward – and fast.
We are living in a time of monumental changes, with global events having a significant impact on the travel and tourism industry
Innovations in travel insurance should continue to prioritise maintaining traveller ease while they’re on the go. With this in mind, BHTP offers the most commonly used reimbursement methods for its customers. Customers can select their preferred claims disbursement, such as cheque payment, direct deposit or PayPal. As payment options continue to evolve, so should provider options for claims payment.
It has become clear what the travelling consumer is looking for: tailored policies to fit their specific travel needs, immediate answers to their travel inconveniences, and a fast, easy-to-navigate claims experience.
Through product and claims innovations, travel insurance providers must continually address the misconception that some consumers may have that travel insurance companies make the claims experience intentionally difficult, and providers are seeking reasons not to pay claims. Meeting and exceeding your customers’ expectations is a great place to start.