The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled its insurance guidelines, which are designed to drive the return of safe, healthy and responsible travel and ensure the insurance sector is fit for purpose to operate for travelers in the "new normal" of the COVID-19 world.
Insurance is a vital part of the travel and tourism experience, providing peace of mind and risk mitigation to consumers, suppliers and organizations. These new guidelines were compiled by WTTC based on input from leading companies, it says—many of which have partnered with experts in public health and governments to support safe, healthy and responsible travels.
Detailed discussions took place with key stakeholders and organizations, according to WTTC, to ensure maximum buy-in, alignment and practical implementation, and to set clear expectations of what travelers may experience. WTTC divided the new guidance into four pillars, including operational and staff preparedness; ensuring a safe experience; rebuilding trust and confidence; innovation; and implementing enabling policies.
Highlights of recommendations include:
- All organizations to provide risk management plans, including how they aim to combat COVID-19, to insurers
- Organizations to make sure their plans are thorough, practical and simple to follow
- All staff to be informed of protective measures being taken, which include insurance products that will cover them
- Insurers to ensure audits identify and plug gaps in and source the right partners and providers to ensure appropriate coverage
- Insurers to create blanket insurance and crisis management coverage to give comfort to customers
- Ensure there is enhanced awareness of the terms and conditions, restrictions, and coverage limits of insurance products/policies
- Insurers to provide a minimum base of mandatory coverage for risks posed by COVID-19
- Educate travelers who are unfamiliar with the risk they could be exposed to and what coverage to look for
In addition, WTTC called upon governments to implement comprehensive testing facilities at airports, “which will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and see the return of safe travels,” Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and CEO, said in a statement.
She added, “It is imperative that all airports, catering for international travel, implement globally recognized testing standards for both inbound and outbound passengers. This will provide reassurance to all travelers, maintain ‘air corridors’ between countries and remove damage and disruption caused by blunt quarantines, which massively impact the recovery of the travel and tourism sector.”
The screening process, the WTTC says, must include temperature checks and swab tests for all arriving and departing passengers with results back within 24 hours. Only those who test positive—with or without symptoms—should be put into quarantine. For destinations with apps to assist in effective test and trace programs, passengers must be advised to sign up and use them, it adds.