With travel agencies highly vulnerable to huge losses of stored personal data and fraudulent bookings, Travel Leaders Franchise Group reports a new partnership with a major insurance company to offer Errors and Omissions (E&O) policies to member agencies.
The program includes a Network Security Endorsement and Cybercrime Insurance Protection Policy. Included is coverage for independent contractors working for Travel Leaders member agencies under the E&O policy.
"The need for agencies and agency owners to be protected from fraudulent cyber-attacks as well as fraudulent activities that unfortunately come from a very small but potentially damaging minority of unscrupulous staff and independent contractors is critical," said Roger Block, president of Travel Leaders Franchise Group .
"Unfortunately, many agency owners do without because most insurance products to protect against network security breaches and fraudulent cyber-attacks are incredibly expensive,” Block said.
“The Network Security Endorsement available to our Travel Leaders member agencies fills that void and provides protection, at very reasonable prices, to our agencies that would otherwise not have access to this coverage," Block said.
In addition to the Network Security Endorsement, the program expands coverage by removing certain clauses regarding claims and adding coverage to many traditionally excluded activities for Travel Leaders agencies. Highlights of the Cybercrime Protection Policy cited by Travel Leaders:
Crime Coverage in the Business Owners’ General Liability Policy – A crime policy covers the travel agency for loss of money or securities resulting from dishonest or criminal acts committed by employees or ICs. An example may be a case in which an independent contractor knowingly uses stolen credit cards to book flights and then fraudulently sells these plane tickets to his/her customers at a discounted rate. While the IC makes a “profit” on the sale of the tickets, the travel agency is held accountable for the cost of the fraudulently purchased tickets. This extension would protect the agency against such fraud, Travel Leaders says.
Coverage for Failure to Provide Travel Insurance – Travel Leaders member agencies have access to coverage should one of their employees or ICs fail to provide travel insurance to a client. A likely scenario might be an IC or employee who fails to file the travel insurance requested by the client, followed by a bad turn of events causing the client to file suit against the agency. Under this policy, the Travel Leaders member agency would be protected through coverage.
Coverage for Independent Contractors (ICs) – Included is coverage for ICs working for Travel Leaders member agencies under the E&O policy, the same as it would be for their own employees. For example, if an IC working for a Travel Leaders member agency sends a client on a “once in a lifetime trip” to Egypt and a revolution erupts shortly after arrival, the client could claim the agency did not advise them properly of their risks, thus making the agency accountable for their losses. The new coverage would mitigate this risk for the agency.
The new policy provides Travel Leaders member agencies with a one-stop, solution to handle all business insurance risks from property, general liability, workers’ compensation to the professional liability exposures such as E&O and Network Security & Cyber Liability. This allows for simplified billing, ease of doing business and fewer claims hassles at time of loss, Travel Leaders says.
Research among Travel Leaders member agencies led to broader coverage than what was currently available to non-member agencies in the industry, Travel Leaders said. For example:
• Network Security/Cyber Liability coverage is available to protect those growing data privacy concerns that agencies face such as identity theft and failure to protect the confidential data of agencies clients. Agencies could be held responsible for the loss of this personal data and be held accountable to reimburse clients or other business partners such as an airline or cruise line for this breach. Many agencies may think that they have coverage for this under their E&O policy when in fact that is not the case; however, the Travel Leaders policy specifically provides that protection.
• Data Privacy coverage was deemed essential by Travel Leaders member agencies to cover such issues as: (1) liability coverage for identity theft, breach of privacy, failure to protect confidential client data, transmission of spyware, viruses, and malicious codes; and (2) protection if somebody illegally gains access to Travel Leaders member agencies’ systems through the passcodes of their ICs that enable them to book fraudulent tickets.
Travel Leaders notes its member agencies also have free access to a Human Resources Portal that contains all state regulatory, policy and HR information, as well as a dedicated account team. The program has earned support from Travel Leaders members.