Could the 2023 travel boom finally reveal travel insurance’s failure to adapt?

Could the 2023 travel boom finally reveal travel insurance’s failure to adapt?

battleface chief executive says the travel insurance industry must catch-up with the frictionless, hyper-personalised travel booking trends or risk becoming irrelevant

Speaking this week on stage at the United States Travel Insurance Association (USTIA) 2023 annual conference in Las Vegas, Sasha Gainullin, the chief executive of travel insurance provider battleface, told the audience:   

“While many companies in the travel industry have accelerated their digitalisation and continue to look at new ways to transform the customer experience, sadly the travel insurance industry did not get that memo and are lagging behind.

“Many travellers are experiencing the glaring difference between the now seamless and customised travel booking process, and the unchanged, inflexible world of pre-packaged travel insurance.  

“Unless we abandon the ‘like-it-or-lump-it’, one-size-fits-all approach, conversion rates will continue to fall along with satisfaction rates  from travellers frustrated at not being able to identify products that are relevant to their needs or unhappy at the painful claims experience processes unchanged in decades.” 

During the panel – which was titled ‘Insure Tech Trends: How Technology Enhances the Customer Experience’ - Gainullin went on to explain that right now over 90% of travellers turn down the offer of an insurance policy within the major travel booking reservation websites (despite many players having insurance embedded at that point). 

In the US alone, there are around 50 different modules of insurance products that can be sold individually or combined, for example Travel Medical, Trip Cancellation, Vacation Rental Damage, Trip Interruption and many other unique benefits. Using API-led tech and A/B testing, companies could continue to build policies based on travellers trip types, destinations, activities and actual needs.

At the event, Gainullin spoke about his own background and experience – on building highly personalised travel insurance products for sale in both direct and partner channels –  to outline three steps travel insurance providers must implement ASAP to avoid becoming irrelevant:  

  • Unbundle the entire product to provide greater flexibility and choice to customising, while making it relevant to distribution partner marketplaces and their customers. 

  • Keep products and services relevant for today’s travellers. Prioritise A/B testing to determine exactly how to increase user engagement, reduce bounce rates, increase conversion and based on data, reinvest back into products.

  • Use tech to streamline, connect and improve the entire customer experience.

We no longer live in a world where travellers should be dealing with multiple companies which don’t interact with one another when purchasing a policy, trying to file a claim or getting 24/7 emergency travel and medical assistance help.