Better representation for travel agents may be on the way. The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and its Corporate Advisory Council (CAC) report a significant expansion of its Charitable Matching Program for ASTA’s political action committee, “ASTAPAC,” and new financial support of the U.S. Travel Insurance Association's (UStiA) efforts to standardize travel agency travel insurance licensing in all 50 states.
For 2014, the CAC has stepped up its support for ASTAPAC by expanding its Charitable Matching Program to include an individual component in addition to the $25,000 that will again be available to high-achieving chapters, ASTA said. CAC members include most of the consortia and franchise groups in the industry.
Under the expanded program, individual 2014 PAC donors of $1,000 or more will able to direct matching funds equivalent to 50 percent of their contribution to the charity of their choice. The individual component is capped at $10,000. As with the chapter program, the charity must be a 501(c)3 entity and must provide a federal W-9 form to ASTA to ensure that it is a federally-recognized nonprofit.
"Both of these initiatives will help move the travel industry forward in 2014. The Charitable Matching Program will help strengthen ASTA’s advocacy work while allowing members to give back to their local communities,” said ASTA President & CEO Zane Kerby.
“Likewise, this new financial investment in the insurance coalition’s work will help eliminate the licensing problems and inconsistencies, cost, as well as risk, which make it difficult for travel agencies to conduct business" Kirby said.
The goal of the travel insurance coalition is to establish a uniform licensing standard that is adopted in all states, which shifts the licensing burden for the sale of travel insurance from travel agents to limited lines travel insurance producers, ASTA said. So far, 21 states have adopted the standard – 29 states remain.