7th June, 2018

The problem with travel insurance…

The above picture is my finger during a recent snowboarding trip to Japan.

And THIS is the resultant pile of medical invoices for medical treatment I received in Japan, plus invoices for the ongoing treatment to try and straighten my now bent finger from a hand therapist in Australia.

A trip to the doctor in Japan isn’t cheap, particularly in a remote ski town. It cost over $1,000 for the fantastic x-ray above and for a trainee doctor to have several attempts at pulling my badly dislocated finger back into position. After several failed attempts the lead doctor took over and after a few more tugs my finger finally clicked back into the socket. I have a sneaky suspicion that all that tugging to get it back in contributed to my finger still being sore and swollen more than three months and countless therapy sessions after the injury.

Travel insurance has become very easy to buy, some of the major airlines make it as easy as ticking a box when purchasing a flight and travel agents have always been very happy to push their product in front of you. Many banks even provide free travel insurance included with their credit cards (make sure you read the fine print, there is lots of it).

So most people have some sort of travel insurance in place when travelling, but the real test of any insurance comes when you try and use it.

The problem with travel insurance is like many insurance policies, claiming isn’t easy. Time is so valuable to all of us in a world of constant emails and social media demanding our attention every second of the day. Things have been so busy at Bruce Insurance since I returned from holidays that submitting a travel insurance claim has hardly been a priority. Yet the insurance company owes me over $2,000 which is better in my bank account than theirs.

It was good timing then at our recent Steadfast conference I attended a presentation by a new travel insurance company called Travelcard. They launched in Israel 7 years ago and now have over 30% of the travel insurance market there. Travelcard are now establishing themselves in Australia, Germany and Canada.

So what’s different about Travelcard…

Well it’s this… and getting rid of this…

Travelcard provide you with this card which serves a number of clever purposes.

The biggest most obvious use is paying your insurance claims immediately. Medical bills can be charged straight to the card removing the job of submitting a claim that may or may not get done when you return. The card also be used to receive emergency cash to purchase items which may have been stolen — it basically provides real time claiming which is a huge step up from the current process.

With no excess and no claims forms the process could not be simpler. In order to claim all you need to do is contact their call centre (phone number is on the card) anywhere in the world and provide details of the issue over the phone. The call centre is manned by Aussies, reducing communication issues. Any emergency costs can be dealt with immediately and arrangements for non-urgent things will commence right away.

What Travelcard are doing is truly innovative not just in travel insurance, but for the whole industry and hopefully we continue to see more innovations like this. We have all got better things to do than submitting insurance claims, like checking our emails and social media accounts…

Article written by Murray Bruce, Managing Director

Author: Murray Bruce