WTTC Launches Insurance Guidelines for the Travel & Tourism Sector
- Özgür Töre
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled its Insurance Guidelines to rebuild global consumer confidence to help encourage the return of travelling.
The guidelines are designed to drive the return of safe, healthy and responsible travel and ensure the insurance sector is fit for purpose to operate for travellers in the ‘new normal’ of the COVID-19 world.
Insurance is a vital part of the Travel & Tourism experience, providing peace of mind and risk mitigation to consumers, suppliers, and organisations across the Travel & Tourism sector.
These new guidelines were compiled based on input from leading companies, many of which have partnered with trusted experts in public health and governments to support safe, healthy, and responsible travels.
The guidelines aim to promote consistent standards across all relevant functions with an increased focus on health and safety, in line with what travellers need and expect.
They provide practical insights and guidelines around insurance for the Travel & Tourism private sector to equip them with the knowledge of risks, what insurance coverage they need to look for, and how to attain appropriate coverage for their needs.
Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said: “Insurance is vital for travellers to have peace of mind and confidence to travel and it is now more important than ever to create confidence for consumers travelling in the ‘new normal’ of COVID-19.
“We have worked closely with key players across the travel insurance industry to make recommendations to ensure individual travellers, groups and organisations can feel safe and confident enough to travel, sure in the knowledge they have the protection they need.
“The measures outlined in our Insurance Guidelines should help guide travel insurers to create products which contain every contingency needed offer reassurance to enable travel to recommence to those countries which have relaxed their border controls and travel restrictions.”
Robin Ingle, MSH Ingle International, Travel Navigator and Novus Health CEO, said: “The survival and growth of Travel & Tourism is important in many ways, particularly for the global economy and for promoting cross-cultural understanding transcending borders.
“The COVID-19 global pandemic has made governments, travellers, and the Travel & Tourism industry across the world experience how deeply integrated and interdependent we are on each other.
“Insurance protects and supports the operations of these stakeholders and thus plays a key part in the successful transition of the industry into the ‘new normal’. WTTC and its insurance, risk management and travel assistance members have worked closely to develop guidelines and an FAQ to address insurance-related issues and considerations.
“These guidelines will be an evolving document, and we will be on hand to answer questions to help guide and assist the industry toward a successful restart.”
Beth Godlin, President, Aon Affinity Travel Practice, and member of the WTTC Task Force said: “The benefits that Travel Insurance and Assistance products offer have always been an important part of the travel experience. The current global pandemic has directly affected companies in this industry who in turn have developed ways that these products can support the industry and travelers as we return to travel.
Detailed discussions took place with key stakeholders and organisations to ensure maximum buy-in, alignment and practical implementation, to set clear expectations of what travellers may experience.
WTTC divided the new guidance into four pillars including operational and staff preparedness; ensuring a safe experience; rebuilding trust and confidence; innovation; and implementing enabling policies.
Highlights of recommendations announced today include:
- All organisations to provide risk management plans, including how they aim to combat COVID-19, to insurers
- Organisations to make sure their plans are thorough, practical, and simple to follow
- All staff to be informed of protective measures being taken, which include insurance products that will cover them
- Insurers to ensure audits identify and plug gaps in and source the right partners and providers to ensure appropriate coverage
- Insurers to create blanket insurance and crisis management coverage to give comfort to customers
- Ensure there is enhanced awareness of the terms and conditions, restrictions, and coverage limits of insurance products/policies
- Insurers to provide a minimum base of mandatory coverage for risks posed by COVID-19
- Educate travellers who are unfamiliar with the risk they could be exposed to and what coverage to look for
WTTC recently unveiled its Safe Travels protocols for hospitality, outdoor retail, airports, airlines, tour operators, convention centres, meetings and events, which were widely endorsed and supported by top CEOs and business leaders globally.
Backed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the new protocols recognise businesses and governments worldwide which have adopted them to rebuild confidence among consumers, encourage the return of ‘Safe Travels’ and enable the Travel & Tourism sector to reopen for business.
According to WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report, during 2019, Travel & Tourism was responsible for one in 10 jobs (330 million total), making a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generating one in four of all new jobs.