Cover Genius and Skyscanner roll out new Covid-19-proof travel insurance

Hispanic woman with grey hair, face mask, blue blazer and orange scarf talks on mobile while standing in the airport.

After the utter mayhem that ensued when borders closed and travellers scrambled to get refunds on flights, research shows that 60% of Aussies have become disenchanted with travel insurance*.

However, with nine months of hindsight, could it now be possible to design a policy to protect travellers in this brave new world?

We spoke with Peter Smith from Cover Genius to talk about how the fintech has partnered with travel website Skyscanner to do just that.

Why travel insurance flopped back in March

Most travel insurance policies taken out pre-Covid were not fit for purpose, says Head of Travel Partnerships at Cover Genius Peter Smith. 

He says that as a result of this, customers were left unprotected and out of pocket.

“Millions of trips were cancelled, the industry was flooded with claims - many of which were denied, as it became clear that the specific Covid related perils were not covered in their existing policies,” says Smith.

Some examples of Covid-19 related problems that were not covered by policies include: protecting customers in the event of airlines going into administration, cancellation due to Covid-related sickness or if travellers were denied entry to destinations due to failed temperature checks.

Smith says that as travel plans were cancelled, there wasn't much of an appetite for insurers to deal with gaps in coverage. He says, “It felt like if ever there was a time to prioritise customers and provide them with peace of mind, it was now. So we decided to take action and move swiftly to develop new products that could ease their burdens.”

Addressing travel restrictions and cancellations

As part of its taking action, Cover Genius partnered with Skyscanner and has been working on integrating its insurance distribution platform ‘XCover’ with the flight booking website’s purchase path.

Smith says these new travel insurance products aim to address three clear customer concerns:

  1. Unexpected travel restrictions                                                                                                                   
  2. Health while travelling                                                                                                                             
  3. Financial loss, should a trip be cancelled or an airline go into administration

“This new suite of products include a combination of medical, trip cancellation and airline insolvency cover, including protection against travel disruption and sickness caused by Covid-19,” he says.

Smith adds that this new travel insurance is designed to give travellers peace of mind when booking a trip. 

“We are all operating under a heightened sense of uncertainty and risk right now, so providing this cover at point of sale will ease uncertainty and promote the recovery of the travel industry, as a whole.”

Roll out to Australia and New Zealand

This new insurance will first be available to customers booking via Skyscanner in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom, with plans to roll out to Australia and New Zealand in a few weeks time, says Smith.

Finally, Smith says that by opting for XCover, Skyscanner customers will have access to personalised and optimised protection to fit their individual itinerary, trip and destination. 

“This is different to the traditional one-size-fits-all approach to comprehensive travel insurance and seeks to tailor coverage to the needs of the traveller,” he says.

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*Statistics taken from a report released by Mozo in July 2020, read the full story here: The future of travel: Aussies avoid cheap flights, booking sites and insurance.