Top Travel Insurance Myths and Trends for Sellers to Know in 2017 –

first_imgWritten By: Robert Gallagher, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, AIG Travel  It should come as no surprise to sellers of travel that over the past several decades, the travel industry has become of one of the most universally dynamic industries in the world. In fact, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council, 284 million people – or about 10 percent of the global job market – are in some way employed by the travel industry. Those who aren’t selling travel, are consuming it, taking full advantage of the affordability and  the increase in air, cruise and hotel capacity.  Air traffic has reached record heights of late. For many experts, 2016 underscores the staying power of this trend as travelers around the world demonstrate their resilience and a continued commitment to travel despite a heightened perception of challenges to travel affecting a variety of destinations, including terrorist activity, outbreaks of infectious disease and instances of social unrest. Accompanying the explosive growth in travel are an ever-increasing number of new destination, accommodation and technology options for a new breed of travelers.  Adventurous travelers are enjoying changes in government policies and now visiting destinations, such as Cuba and Myanmar, which were previously more difficult to visit.  The sharing economy has provided travelers the means to “live like a local” and venture “off the beaten path” at their destinations of choice. While exciting, these developments have also introduced unprecedented “unknowns” into the travel equation; for which many travelers, are inadequately if not entirely unprepared to manage. According to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, one in six travelers will have their travel plans adversely affected by medical situations, natural disasters, severe weather occurrences or transportation delays and cancellations; however, less than 25 percent of those travelers will have purchased travel insurance to help them deal with the financial and logistical impact of unexpected events. Those without travel insurance are left to fend for themselves, at risk of the smallest mishap or significant event, all of which can dampen if not ruin their long-awaited trip. One can attribute this relatively low adoption of travel insurance in large part to a general lack of awareness about the value of travel insurance.   Many travelers don’t necessarily think about the multitude of things that can go wrong.  In addition to interrupted or cancelled trips and lost or delayed luggage, many travel insurance policies include coverage for medical emergencies caused by sudden illness or an accident, and medical evacuations (which internationally can cost upwards of $50,000).  Many travel insurance plans also offer travel related services such as 24/7 travel assistance to help with the re-booking of flights, hotel accommodations and more.  Even those travelers who do appreciate that an endless number of circumstances could trigger a need for travel insurance benefits and related services, may have other misconceptions that prevent them from purchasing a travel insurance policy. Sometimes, exposing and dispelling “myths,” such as those listed below, is all that’s needed for a travel seller to convince a reluctant customer of the significant benefits to travel insurance and ensure that customer is well positioned to get the most out of their travel plans: Their credit card covers them: Many consumers don’t purchase travel insurance because they believe coverage from other sources fully protects them in the event of a travel emergency or mishap. For example, credit cards, which often promote their travel protection benefits, typically offer more limited coverage. While they may offer base coverage for lost or stolen items or trip cancellation (assuming your customer purchased their travel with the card in question), many have low coverage limits, and very few offer any sort of coverage for medical emergencies or evacuations abroad (often, the priciest contingencies travelers may face).Their medical coverage travels with them: Many consumers don’t realize that while they may have great health insurance here in the U.S., many or all of those benefits may not apply the moment they leave the country. Even plans that offer some level of coverage abroad are unlikely to cover emergency evacuations in the case of a catastrophic event. Passengers who think coverage for this scenario is only necessary when undertaking some risky activity, such as mountain hiking or zip lining, should think again.  Travelers may need to be evacuated for even relatively minor issues if proper medical staff isn’t readily available.A basic travel insurance plan will cover everything: Many travelers don’t realize that not all insurance programs are created equal.  Many basic plans don’t include a full range of benefits which cover extraordinary instances.  In addition, some basic plans may carry exclusions that would surprise travelers.  Travel sellers should encourage their customers to read and review their policies, and if additional protection is desired, encourage them to consider upgrading their coverage.  For example, a “Cancel for Any Reason” plan, as the name suggests, allows travelers to cancel their trip for any reason that is not otherwise covered by a basic plan.Travel insurance is expensive: For many consumers, travel may already be an expensive proposition and tacking on added expenses like travel insurance can feel prohibitive. While the cost of travel insurance can vary significantly depending on the provider, the desired coverages and services, and the cost of the trip, there is one common element of travel planning in that accidents and unforeseen events happen, and for the one in six travelers who experience them, travel insurance may very well pay for itself. Those lucky enough to not need their travel insurance coverage, may still experience added benefits, such as 24/7 concierge services, offered by some providers, as well as the freedom of knowing that, if the worst were to happen, they’d have financial protection and the guidance and expertise of someone who’s likely dealt with the situation before. While dispelling travel insurance “myths” is a key to successful selling, smart travel professionals may also want to look ahead to the following four travel trends, and consider how they – applied to a strong existing sales strategy – may have the potential to boost their revenues and selling power in 2017: Limited Lines Travel Insurance Model Act: In 2012, a coalition including the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the U.S. Travel Insurance Association (UStiA), and insurance regulators and legislators introduced the Limited Lines Travel Insurance Model Act, designed to reduce the licensing barriers travel sellers must overcome in order to offer travel insurance to their customers – for example, the act would remove the requirement that agents who sell travel insurance must be licensed in the state in which the policy is sold. The law has been passed in a majority of jurisdictions, enabling more travel sellers to offer travel insurance to their customers, albeit subject to a number of limitations. Travel sellers should weigh the pros and cons of full licensure versus this easier but more limited option and make the best decision for themselves and their customers.Travel Risk Management: While travel risk management has long been a widely-discussed trend in the business travel sphere – where globalization has spurred companies to send more and more of their employees overseas, often for long periods of time and to potentially risky locations – the concept is now also making its way to the leisure space. On the business side, the general idea is that businesses have a “duty to care” for their traveling employees by offering value-added benefits, such as travel accident and assistance insurance, to minimize their personal risk. This translates to the consumer side via the thought that travel sellers have a duty to inform their clients both of potential risks they may face abroad and of ways to mitigate those risks. Not only is this thought of as the right thing to do, but it’s also increasingly necessary to minimize potential legal liability resulting from not making such options clear enough to customers. In 2017, travel sellers should be aware of this evolving trend, and consider value-added services – such as pre-trip advisories, real-time incident tracking and other alerts offered by travel insurance partners to minimize their clients’ risk.One-Stop Solutions: It’s no secret that rapidly evolving online and mobile platforms have – for better or for worse – forever changed the travel selling landscape. What it’s also done, however, is accustom customers to immediate and integrated solutions for just about everything. When evaluating potential travel insurance providers, travel sellers and their customers should be looking for a service that “does it all.” Some important items on the check list include: Knowledge and expertise in the “business” of travel insurance – a consultative partner who can structure your travel insurance program.A full range of trip types and travel styles.A track record of service excellence (after all, the service your partners provide your customers is an extension of your own).Universal capacity to pay claims.Global infrastructure to take care of your clients anywhere in the world.Sustainable travel: Otherwise referred to as Ecotourism or Green travel. Whatever term you use to describe it, travelers are increasingly expressing an interest in making sure their travels have a neutral to favorable impact on the cultures, economies and geopolitical structures of the places they visit. However, according to a recent AIG Travel poll, while 52 percent of travelers say it’s important to travel sustainably, more than one third (35 percent) report difficulty doing so. In response, AIG Travel recently partnered with Tourism Cares to help travel sellers respond to this trend.  The new online training and certification program for travel agents, launched at the ASTA Global Convention in Reno, Nevada on September 26, educates travel sellers to “help travelers give and volunteer better, creating powerful experiences and connections while improving the impact of their contributions.” Similar to an offer of travel insurance, knowledge from this course when shared elevates the travel seller’s value proposition and in turn, strengthens their relationships with their clients. Robert Gallagher is Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of AIG Travel. In his role, Robert assists with the development and execution of AIG Travel’s global business plan. He also manages AIG Travel’s relationships with Travel industry organizations and serves as the business leader for Travel acquisitions, joint ventures and other corporate development matters.last_img read more

What Its Like to Drive a NASCAR Race Car and Where You

first_img Editors’ Recommendations Previous A Breakdown of All the Major Types of Car Racing 1 of 7 Andy Warhol Painted a BMW M1 Race Car, and It’s Gorgeous The Maserati Quattroporte: Luxury You Can Sort of Almost Imagine Affording Next NASCAR Driver Brad Keselowski on Crashing, Winning, and Creating a Legacy If you can’t make it to Daytona Beach, you can enjoy an on-track stock car racing experience at any of 16 speedways around the country that offer the official NASCAR Racing Experience. But I strongly urge you to make the trip to this veritable holy land of racing. The sheer size of the Daytona International Speedway alone is staggering, and the history and gravitas that comes with it make driving on the track a surprisingly powerful experience beyond the raw power of the vehicles themselves.Before you get into a NASCAR race car, you get a long safety briefing, you put on a burn-resistant suit, and you get fitted for a helmet. If not before, it’s by this point that you are realizing this is not going to be a go-kart style of experience. To get into a NASCAR car, you have to climb through the driver side window. Then you are secured with a five-point harness and safety net is strapped into place. You are told about the fire suppression system and taught how to remove the steering wheel and take down the safety net should you need to exit the car after an unfortunate incident.So again, all pretty serious stuff. But I was still calm albeit excited as the speakers built into my helmet crackled with my spotter’s voice. He was telling me it was my turn to head out onto the track.I have no idea how fast I was going as I approached that first turn. NASCAR vehicles feature a massive tachometer but have no speedometer — drivers measure their speed based on RPMs and experience. In fact, when speedometers were briefly installed in some race cars, drivers drove an average of 10 miles per hour slower, stupefied by how fast they were actually going.Steven John/The ManualMy heart was racing as I entered the steeply banked curve, but all at once something amazing happened: I realized that physics really does work. Driving at high speed around a curve set at a steep angle feels as natural as taking a flat turn at lower speeds. Despite the fact that I would later be told I was driving at around 140 mph (OK, my top speed that day was 139.89 miles per hour), once comfortable in the car, I felt like I was going not much above a fast highway pace for most of the eight laps I completed on the Daytona International Speedway.My heart was racing as I entered the steeply banked curve, but all at once something amazing happened: I realized that physics really does work.It was not until the drive was over, my knuckles returned to their usual flush, and I was having a drink and talking with some other writers who had also completed the course, that it occurred to me just how hard real racing must be. At 140 MPH on an empty track, I still had to give 100% of my focus to keep the car in control. Professional drivers are often going 200 miles per hour and are contending with dozens of other vehicles as they race.Even if you’re not a NASCAR fan, I can tell you now from personal experience that’s it wrong to not call this a sport. The cars do a lot of the work, sure, but there is an intense physicality involved. I was sweaty and strained after eight laps. These guys? They do 200 mph.Where You Can Try the NASCAR Racing Experience:Talladega Superspeedway, AlabamaISM Raceway, ArizonaAuto Club Speedway, CaliforniaDover International Speedway, DelawareDaytona International Speedway, FloridaHomestead Miami Speedway, FloridaAtlanta Motor Speedway, GeorgiaChicagoland Speedway, IllinoisKansas Speedway, KansasKentucky Speedway, KentuckyMichigan International Raceway, MichiganNew Hampshire Motor Speedway, New HampshireLas Vegas Motor Speedway, NevadaCharlotte Motor Speedway, North CarolinaMyrtle Beach Speedway, South CarolinaTexas Motor Speedway, TexasRichmond Raceway, Virginia 6 Fastest Cars in the World Right Now Steven John/The ManualI’ve driven a lot of fast cars in the past few years. Earlier this year, I had a Corvette up above 120 miles per hour on the track. I’ve been behind the wheel of Ferraris, Maseratis, BMWs, and the list goes on. So I figured I could handle a race car just fine, and my heartbeat didn’t so much as quicken as I climbed through the window of a NASCAR stock car on the track of the Daytona International Speedway.But as I sped toward the first turn and saw the 31-degree bank looming in front of me, I did have one brief heart flutter and a moment of doubt. As I recall, my thoughts were something like this: “Holy shit.”NASCAR racing proper was born out of need (more or less), with the early drivers having cut their teeth running illicit liquor during prohibition. Today, there are 23 NASCAR race tracks, with the oldest still in operation being the Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. Daytona International Speedway is broadly considered to be the best racing experience in the sport, and the races themselves are but one of the reasons to visit the area. Driving a race car yourself is a pretty good draw if you ask me. We’ll get into that in a moment.As I sped toward the first turn and saw the 31-degree bank looming in front of me, I did have one brief heart flutter and a moment of doubt. As I recall, my thoughts were something like this: “Holy s***.”If you’re going to visit Daytona Beach, you’re doing it wrong if you don’t stay at the brand-new hotel, The Daytona, opened just this year and literally a stone’s throw (assuming you are an Olympic javelin thrower, anyway) from the Speedway itself. The hotel is part of the Marriott Autograph Collection, a line of elevated resort-style destinations always carefully curated to fit into their environment. The lobby of The Daytona features rotating installations of race cars and memorabilia from famous drivers. Its rooms feature drawer pulls and doorknobs made to look like parts of an automobile and there are carbon fiber details within the furnishings. Even the little notepad by the phone fits in, designed to look like a speeding ticket.last_img read more

Business Highlights

by The Associated Press Posted Apr 20, 2015 4:01 pm MDT Last Updated Apr 20, 2015 at 7:30 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Business Highlights ___A small victory for fliers: summer domestic fares fall $2.01After years of steadily-rising airfare, travellers this summer can expect a tiny bit of relief — $2.01 in savings to be exact.The average roundtrip domestic ticket this summer, including taxes, now stands at $454, down less than a per cent from last summer. Vacationers to Europe will fare better with the average ticket down 3 per cent to $1,619, about $50 less than last summer.Not all travellers will get to save.Flights to Hawaii, Florida and New Orleans are cheaper, but travellers heading to New York, Denver and San Francisco can expect to pay more.___5 years after BP spill: What’s changed in offshore drillingNEW ORLEANS (AP) — As oil gushed from BP’s ruptured well five years ago and public outrage built by the day, the Obama administration issued a six-month moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.When the well was finally capped after nearly three months, political and industry pressure mounted on the White House to lift the ban, which it did about a month earlier than planned.___Running out of time: Limited-time deals can be limitingNEW YORK (AP) — Target shoppers found out this weekend that when stores make deals to carry merchandise from high-end designers for a limited time, it can be, well, really limiting.The discounter partnered with the Lilly Pulitzer brand to carry a collection of 250 pieces for a fraction of the price of the Palm Beach designer’s original merchandise. But the line, which included $38 pink shift dresses and $25 beach towels, was wrought with long lines in stores, quick sellouts online and other problems.___Global, Chinese automakers debut new car modelsSHANGHAI (AP) — Ford showed off its new Taurus and Nissan unveiled a midsize sedan designed for China on Monday at a Shanghai Auto Show that highlighted the commercial resurgence of lower-priced Chinese auto brands.Competition in China is intensifying as economic growth slows and more manufacturers pile into the world’s biggest auto market by number of vehicles sold. Global automakers are spending heavily to appeal to Chinese tastes and local brands are rolling out lower-cost versions of SUVs and other popular vehicles.___Volcker says US bank oversight ineffective, seeks overhaulWASHINGTON (AP) — Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker is calling for a reshaping of the U.S. financial oversight regime, which he says is splintered and ineffective.A public policy group led by Volcker issued a report Monday on the regulation of banks and Wall Street. It says the array of government agencies that oversee the financial system has changed little since the Depression-era 1930s and can’t keep up with a fast-moving industry. It calls for a simpler setup.___Survey: US businesses expect sales rebound, more hiringWASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses expect their sales will rebound in the next three months after a sluggish first quarter, and they also plan to boost hiring and pay, according to a survey released Monday.Just 49 per cent of firms said their sales increased in the first three months of the year from last year’s fourth quarter. That’s down from 54 per cent that reported higher sales in the last survey, in January.Yet companies are much more bullish about the April through June quarter. Nearly three-quarters of companies forecast higher sales over the next three months, up from 68 per cent in January and just 54 per cent in October.___Labour group seeks rehiring of workers at 5 Wal-Mart storesNEW YORK (AP) — A union is asking labour regulators to go to court to force Wal-Mart to rehire all 2,200 employees affected by the abrupt temporary closing of five stores a week ago.The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union filed the charge with the National Labor Relations Board on Monday, arguing the closings were retaliation for labour activism. Wal-Mart says it closed the stores to fix plumbing issues.One affected store, in Pico Rivera, California, has been a hotbed for worker protests against Wal-Mart. It was the first store to wage such protests, in October 2012. The other stores are in Midland and Livingston, Texas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Brandon, Florida.___Bristol-Myers: 2 cancer drugs beat 1 against melanomaPHILADELPHIA (AP) — Giving patients with advanced melanoma two Bristol-Myers drugs that work differently held the deadly skin cancer at bay far longer than just one, though the combination’s considerable increase in serious side effects raises concerns about how much patients can endure.A study of 142 patients not treated previously found combining Yervoy and Opdivo, which mobilize the body’s immune system to target cancer cells, greatly boosted survival over giving Yervoy alone. The company said the combo also was better than Opdivo alone, based on a prior study.___Halliburton says has cut 9,000 jobs in wake of oil’s dropHOUSTON (AP) — Halliburton Co. has cut 9,000 jobs — more than 10 per cent of its workforce — in about six months and is considering more cost-cutting moves as falling oil prices sap demand for its drilling help.Halliburton executives disclosed the job cuts Monday on a conference call with investors. The Houston oilfield-services company reported a loss of $643 million in the first quarter.Oil prices plunged starting last summer, leading to a decline in drilling activity. Spot prices for crude have risen slightly since early January but remain about half their level of last July.___Cardinal Health paying $26.8 million in FTC settlementNEW YORK (AP) — Cardinal Health will pay $26.8 million as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over charges it monopolized the sale in 25 markets of diagnostic drugs known as low-energy radiopharmaceuticals.The charges allege that the pharmaceutical and medical-products distributor forced hospitals and clinics to pay inflated prices for the drugs, used to diagnose a range of conditions, including heart disease.___Cirque du Soleil sells majority stake to private equityTORONTO (AP) — The founder of the Cirque Du Soleil said Monday he is giving up the majority stake in his circus troupe that has wowed audiences worldwide for 30 years and propelled him from street performer to billionaire.What was once a small troupe of vagabonds has grown to a 4,000-person operation headquartered in Montreal that will now be controlled by the U.S. private equity firm TPG.Cirque founder Guy Laliberte told a news conference in Montreal that he has signed a deal to sell a majority stake to TPG for an undisclosed price. He will maintain a 10 per cent stake in the business and continue to provide strategic and creative input to the company.___Kraft Mac & Cheese shedding the dyesNEW YORK (AP) — This is the last year that the original version of Kraft Mac & Cheese sold in the U.S. will contain artificial preservatives or synthetic colours.In January, Kraft says its macaroni and cheese will be colored using paprika, annatto and turmeric.There has been a huge shift away from processed foods in the U.S. and larger food producers are trying to follow their customers in that direction.___ESPN says Verizon’s new FiOS TV packages violate agreementsNEW YORK (AP) — Breaking up the cable-TV bundle won’t be easy.ESPN is objecting to how Verizon is giving its FiOS TV customers more choice. In new plans that went into effect Sunday, Verizon made the ESPN and ESPN2 sports channels optional, but ESPN says its contracts with Verizon prohibit the channels from being in a separate sports package.___Japan, US talks seeking compromise on farm, auto tradeTOKYO (AP) — Japan’s top trade negotiator met with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman on Monday, seeking to resolve differences on autos and farm exports that are hindering progress toward a Pacific Rim trade deal.Economy minister Akira Amari, Japan’s top trade negotiator, sought to keep expectations low.Amari said that the two sides were still trying to resolve differences over removing trade barriers in key areas. Japan wants greater market opening for its exports of autos and auto parts. The U.S. hopes to export more rice, pork and other farm products to Japan.___By The Associated Press=The Dow Jones industrial average rose 208.63 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 18,034. 93. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 19.22 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 2,100.40. The Nasdaq composite climbed 62.79 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 4,994.60.The price of U.S. crude oil increased 64 cents to close at $56.38 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, was unchanged at $63.45 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 1.6 cents to close at $1.932 a gallon. Heating oil fell 0.5 cent to close at $1.877 a gallon. Natural gas fell 9.8 cents to close at $2.536 per 1,000 cubic feet. read more

Football Ryan Day discusses progression of underclassmen during fall camp

Freshman wide receiver Garrett Wilson (5) catches a pass for a touchdown in the first half of the 2019 Spring Game on April 13. Gray beat Scarlet 35-17. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Multimedia EditorWhen highly touted high school recruits are introduced as freshmen in front of the Ohio State football team, head coach Ryan Day said veteran players may ask how many recruiting stars they have.But as soon as they spit out an answer, Day said the newcomers are met with a loud chorus of “We don’t care!”Though Day said stars don’t matter once a player becomes a Buckeye, top-flight national recruits may face tougher expectations than others, and Day gave updates on the progression of young Ohio State stars-in-the-making after the fourth fall practice.Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere and freshman wide receiver Garrett Wilson count 10 stars between them, as both were top 20 national recruits, but despite positive reviews from Day, neither are locked in for a starting position.“Nicholas put on 20 pounds,” Day said. “He’s improved immensely; he’s been developed. He’s doing a really good job. I’m really proud of where he’s at, and I think he’s going to really help us this year. He’s battling hard to be a starter right now.”Even with the additional 20 pounds, the 6-foot-5, 295-pound Petit-Frere still gives up 10 pounds to competing tackles like senior Joshua Alabi, 15 pounds to junior Thayer Munford, and 20 to senior Branden Bowen.Wilson was the second highest rated recruit in the Buckeyes’ 2018 class and the No. 1 wide receiver in the nation. After a highlight reel 19-yard touchdown grab in the 2019 Spring Game, fans are eager to see if Wilson will make an immediate impact on the field.That impact will have to be made coming off of the bench, as Day said Wilson is fighting for a backup spot, though he noted that a backup receiver at Ohio State will still see plenty of in-game action.As the No. 3 and No. 4 wideouts in 2018, K.J. Hill and Johnnie Dixon combined for 112 receptions,1,554 yards and 14 touchdowns through the air, which means Wilson will have a chance to make up for the Buckeyes losing three of their top four receiving yard leaders from a season ago.“The good thing for us is we had him in spring, so we saw him flash,” Day said. “He does have a lot of ability. Because he has so much talent, he has to learn how to develop discipline and skill.”Day said another five-star freshman, offensive lineman Harry Miller, has the ability to win the backup center spot behind sophomore Josh Myers, who will be a first-year starter.Miller ran drills with the first and second string linemen in Tuesday’s practice while other true freshmen on the offensive line spent time in a separate group.On the other side of the ball, Day said sophomore safety Josh Proctor had two of the defense’s four interceptions during 11-on-11 run throughs.A top 100, four-star recruit in his own right, Proctor played in nine games as a true freshman and made just one tackle and no interceptions. Day said the production from Proctor in Tuesday’s practice was “really good to see.”While the Ohio State players may not care much for the high school recruiting accolades of their teammates, Day described a team Tuesday that seems to be gelling regardless.“They like each other,” Day said. “There’s a chemistry. They like being around each other — you can just tell.” read more