As the industry gears up for its busiest period of the year, three big topics have emerged to define the travel insurance sector in 2023: elevated levels of demand for insurance, increased economic and geopolitical volatility, and higher customer expectations. These were three key insights from Allianz’s Global Travel Summit, held recently in Paris.
Travel volume remains strong in 2023, and consumer interest in travel insurance is well above pre-pandemic levels. Allianz Partners’ Customer Lab data from across Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and the U.K. showed purchase intentions of travel insurance more than doubled between 2019 and 2022 – from 21 percent in 2019 to 55 percent in 2022 for international travel.
Heightened demand contributed to significant growth in Allianz Partners’ travel business in 2022. Customer numbers have also remained strong through the first months of 2023 marking significant year-over-year growth.
But high demand is accompanied by a significant increase in customers’ expectations from their insurer, including more timely handling of claims and greater responsiveness. The summit explored the need for greater efficiency and a seamless experience, along with technical innovations that will provide more protection and convenience benefits through Allianz’ Allyz platform.
Joe Mason, chief marketing officer, Travel, Allianz Partners, commented: “A surge in leisure travel has coincided with high inflation—especially for transportation, food, and entertainment. Rapid advances in technology and AI are happening even as customers place more emphasis on one-on-one support during critical moments. Add to the mix climate change, labor shortages in the travel sector, and geopolitical volatility and 2023 is shaping up to be a very complex year”.
“Travelers today want more peace of mind to truly explore the ‘Uncharted’—new destinations, activities, and services from their insurer. It’s our job to deliver that through traditional insurance products and enhanced services, making travelers feel safer and more secure,” Mason added.
“Allianz Partners continues to address the rising demand, including the handling of over 72 million cases overall in 2022, up almost 13 percent year on year. We’re investing in—and rolling out—new digital platforms to make everyday customer experiences simpler and quicker. We’re also delivering highly specialized and personal support that customers need in the toughest times, especially when a medical or travel emergency strikes,” he concluded.
Here are three further trends shaping travel insurance in 2023 and beyond:
Focus on platforms and technology: Digital platforms are a vital part of the insurance sector’s future, with the potential to increase scale, reduce costs, and improve the customer experience.
Importance of the human touch: Just as important as cutting-edge digital technology is the ability to deliver highly personal, individualized services when dealing with complex and sensitive situations—particularly medical emergencies. Allianz Partners handled more than 11,000 medical evacuations and repatriations in 2022, managing medical emergencies in virtually every country in the world.
Sustainability remains a consumer priority—and goes beyond climate: Despite the impact of the pandemic and recent economic headwinds, sustainability is a key priority for many travelers. Insight from global consumer trends analysts Foresight Factory shows that public concern about “what I can do to protect the environment?” increased from 57 percent in 2020 to 72 percent in 2022. But it’s not just about emission reduction: consumers are increasingly focused on other aspects such as government environmental policies, sustainable investments, and organizational transparency.