Following Monday’s terrorist attack on an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, Travel Agent spoke with Jason Schreier, CEO of April USA, on how travel agents can talk to clients who may be concerned in the wake of the attack.
Schreier tells Travel Agent that his company has been receiving inquiries from concerned travelers about canceling trip plans following the attack.
“I would say that, any day, we’re getting anywhere from 10 to 20 calls asking about it,” Schreier says. “Europe is the number one destination that we have for our clients.”
Schreier notes that, while the State Department issued a travel alert for all of Europe earlier this month, attacks like this can serve as a reminder of concerns over safety.
“Ariana Grande is a very American kind of celebrity,” Schreier says. “Going to a concert, that’s a thing that people would do while on a trip – it just paints that picture that makes it more real.”
Schreier also tells Travel Agent that his office has received comparable calls from clients following similar recent terrorist attacks, such as the recent shooting on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.
Following an attack, Schreier says that there are three important things to keep in mind regarding travel insurance:
1. The Official Declaration of Terrorism – In order to activate travel insurance policies with a terrorism benefit, an incident must be officially declared a terrorist attack. Importantly, many media comments by public officials, such as the UK Prime Minister’s statement that it is “now beyond doubt that the people of Manchester and of this country have fallen victim to a callous terrorist attack,” do not count as such a declaration. Instead, what counts as an official declaration is defined by the travel insurance policy.
“They define it in one of our policies as an incident deemed an act of terrorism by the U.S. Department of State,” Schreier says. “With the timing that typically occurs, it does take a few days to get through that due diligence process.”
Shortly after our interview, the U.S. State Department did officially declare the Manchester bombing a terrorist incident.
2. Date of Travel – For many policies, the terrorist event has to be within a certain amount of time from when a traveler is going to be headed to the destination. While this varies by policy, it’s generally within seven to 30 days.
3. Distance From the Incident – Many policies also require the incident to have taken place within a certain number of miles of a traveler’s destination.
For agents talking to clients who haven’t booked yet, Schreier recommends emphasizing policies with “cancel for any reason” coverage.
“It’s the safest way to make sure that if you don’t want to travel because something unexpected happened that just completely changed your outlook, you can go ahead without these kind of fine lines making you decide between your money and your comfort and peace of mind,” Schreier says.