Travel agents looking for a unique service and added commission revenue should take a look at Blue Ribbon Bags (BRB), which has launched a new baggage insurance program paying $1,000 for lost or mishandled bags. Agents can earn a 20 percent commission on sales.
For a $5 service fee, BRB pays $1,000 for each bag lost by the airline after 4 days missing, says Gabriel Menkin, CEO of Blue Ribbon Bags, LLC. No receipts for baggage contents are required to receive payment, Menkin told Travel Agent.
Key features of the service include:
- Clients are eligible for reimbursement if the baggage is not returned to them within 4 days of the flight's arrival.
- Proof of baggage contents (receipts) is not required to receive payment.
- Clients must have filed a claim with the airline before reporting lost baggage to Blue Ribbon Bags.
- One Service Agreement ($5) covers a round trip or one way ticket, regardless of the number of connections or stopover’s.
- One Service Agreement ($5) covers all baggage checked with the airline, including last-minute baggage checked at the gate.
- Baggage protection may be purchased at any time prior to the flight's departure.
Clients can sigh up for the service online and submit reports of missed bags on line at www.Blueribbonbags.com or by calling (888) BAGGAGE (888) 224-4243.
"Basically, for $5 Blue Ribbon Bags (BRB) protects every bag you take on the plane, including last minute gate check ins. The $5 is per person, per PNR, regardless of the number of stopovers. If the airline loses the passengers luggage, and it is not back in their hands within 4 days of their flight landing, BRB send them a check on the 5th day for $1000, per bag, guaranteed, even if their bags show up on the 5th day," explains Menkin.
"We have 3 levels of coverage, $7.50 pays $1,500 and $10 pays $2,000. Our service is backed by AIG- a world class insurer - and can be purchased right up until the moment before the client’s flight takes off," says Menkin.
The claims process is simple, Menkin said. First the passenger files a claim with the airline. They take the information the airline gives them (file reference number) and their BRB service agreement number which was provided at purchase, and calls 888-BAGGAGE, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The claim is handled by BRB from that point on, and if the bag isn’t returned within the 4-day window, the check is automatically sent. "This simplicity is also an added benefit for the agent because instead of having to wait for hours on the phone with the airline on behalf of their client, they can now just call 888-BAGGAGE, and get a status update which takes very little time," Menkin said.
In addition, BRB is paying each agent/agency 20 percent of each sale as a commission. "We, in fact, are currently working with Travel Leaders and Vacation.com, along with a number of the major travel agencies and consortia worldwide, as BRB covers every airline, everywhere in the world," Menkin says.
"A lot of agencies want to maximize their commission potentials while also adding this type of value to their client’s trip, so they are finding ways to include BRB into their offerings wherever possible. Our service is an added bonus to every ticket they book. We have a number of ways of working with agencies to make that happen simply,” Menkin said.
"Recently, we finished a deal with Sabre to build for us a red app, that is a free download, that sits on the side of the agent's booking screen. The red app actually pulls all the passenger information required to fulfill BRB's service right out of the GDS, and makes the purchase process a 3-click process for the agents, while also giving them credit for it on the back end."
The app will be going live next week, Menkin reports. "It should get a number of agencies we are not currently working with on board, and will make the process significantly easier for the agencies we are already working with. We are also finishing discussions with the other major GDS systems to create something similar for them as well."
Menkin minimizes the danger of fraudulent claims. "In terms of fraud, these days it is very tough to defraud a service such as ours, or more appropriately an airline's luggage claim system. Every claim must have been filed with the airline before being reported to BRB so that we have an additional check on every lost bag reported to us."
"We are very careful to monitor these claims closely, and with the different systems in place with the airlines in terms of tracking lost luggage, we actually have yet to find a way to create this situation on a fraudulent level."
"Bag loss happens every day, and tens of millions of times a year. The bottom line is the baggage checking systems are far from full-proof which is why insurance services like this exist, and the reason people want the peace of mind of knowing they are getting a guaranteed maximum payment should they fall into this category."
"Putting aside the fact that the bags get lost, actually being able to collect a decent amount of money from an airline, or insurance policy is extremely difficult,” Menkin notes.
"Proving what was in your bag can be a huge headache, in addition to the fact that some policies will provide replacement costs of items instead of actual costs, and will exclude certain items, which are usually the things you need to get reimbursed for the most. The reality is most people get a very minimal amount of money for a lot of work, which also takes a lot of time. This is an easy way of circumventing all those headaches for a price that everyone flying can afford," Menkin said.