Travel insurance sales could rise 4.9 percent this year, according to a new report from Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (BHTP). The 2017 State of Travel Insurance report uses surveys and a predictive global-travel model to produce its findings, which include that 36 percent of consumers expect to buy more travel insurance in 2017, and nearly 61 percent of travel agents predict that 2017 will be a better year for travel insurance.
41 percent of BHTP travelers indicate they plan to take more international leisure trips in 2017. Significantly more international leisure trips are covered by travel insurance (39%) than domestic leisure trips (16%), which appears to lead to an expected increase in travel insurance sales, BHTP said.
45 percent of travelers stated they would buy more travel insurance in 2017 because of the cost of the trip. The expected 4 percent increase in trip costs due to currency fluctuations, increases in lodging costs, airfares, cruise costs and ground transportation can lead to higher travel-insurance premiums and eventually higher travel insurance revenues.
71 percent of travelers bought more travel insurance in 2016 because of flight issues like cancellations and delays. 40 percent of consumers said they were buying more travel insurance because they had better knowledge of how travel insurance products works.
More than 18 percent of travelers use a travel agent to book travel and 94 percent of travel agents said they offer travel insurance with every travel sale.
32 percent of respondents said they bought more travel insurance in 2016 due to family health reasons. Consumers’ concerns over the health of family members appears to make “cancel for any reason” coverage more appealing, BHTP said.
Nearly 38 percent of agencies said river cruises have been the top type of trip in 2016, and 67 percent expect river cruises to be the top driver of improved business performance in 2017. European river cruises ranked third on travel agent’s list of top destinations for 2017. For consumers, 39 percent expect to take more river cruises, and 36 percent expect to take more ocean cruises in 2017. When these facts are viewed with an increase in cruise-ship capacity of more than 17,000 in 2017, travel insurance sales may see an increase, since most cruise vacations are insured.
76 percent of agents listed bucket-list travel as a hot trend for 2017, and 53 percent of travelers said they traveled to cross something off of their bucket list. 36 percent of travelers said they are planning more adventure trips in 2017, and 41 percent of agents said adventure travel will be a top driver of improved business.
60 percent of travel agencies and 25 percent of travelers told BHTP that international terrorism was a threat to traveling, and 12 percent of travelers stated that fear of terrorism is a reason for buying more travel insurance.
A possible 12 percent increase in travel to the Caribbean could be realized in 2017, as Zika has been declared by the World Health Organization to no longer be a “global health emergency.” Caribbean and Central America travel may also see a 10 percent increase in travel insurance sales, the largest increase of any region given the current data. Only 4 percent of respondents, however, said fears of disease epidemics are leading them to buy more travel insurance.
In terms of destinations, insurance sales for travel to the Caribbean and Central America are expected to increase by almost 10 percent, driven by a strong rebound in travel to the region. Europe remains a polarizing destination for travelers and travel agents, though river cruises and low airfares will help contribute to increased European travel and a 4 percent increase in travel insurance sales. Finally, a post-Olympics decline in South American travel will lead to a 7 percent decline in travel insurance sales for the region.