2013: the year of ski trips to Asia, more seniors travelling and lost or stolen smartphones

InsureandGo looks at the top trends in travel insurance for 2013

Sydney, 14 January 2014 – Online travel insurance provider, InsureandGo, reported an encouraging year in 2013 selling 95 per cent more insurance policies than in the previous year. The online insurer also recorded 140 per cent more claims last year than the previous.

InsureandGo‟s Managing Director Sebastien Kaisin said both the increase in claims and purchases in travel insurance policies reflects the current environment with more Australians travelled overseas than previous years.

Overseas arrival and departure (OAD) data indicates that Australians took 8.2 million overseas trips (up 4.9 per cent) over the last 12 months ending February 2013.

"The year on year increase in travel coupled with Smartraveller‟s latest campaign encouraging travellers to take out travel insurance has certainly played a role in the strong numbers that InsureandGo recorded in 2013," Mr. Kaisin said.

"From our annual results, it appears Smartraveller's key message that "if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel", is starting to resonate with Australians planning their travels overseas which is positive," he said.

A review of the year's highs and lows showed some interesting trends such as ski trips to Asia on the rise, more seniors travelling than ever before, while the loss or theft of personal goods and belongings remained the top claim.

Ski trips on the rise – more skiers travelling to Asia

Although insurance policies for ski trips rose only slightly in 2013 to the previous year, skiers travelling to Asian ski fields increased by a significant 15.7 per cent while ski policies to New Zealand saw a slight decline from 43.22 per cent down to 30.41 per cent.

In 2013, just over 29 per cent of all InsureandGo ski policies were sold to skiers travelling to Asian destinations.

A Roy Morgan Research survey released in 2013 found that a decade ago, around 4 out of 5 Aussies wanting a snow-capped holiday chose a domestic destination for their skiing and snowboarding fix. Today, almost half head overseas. Popular destinations included New Zealand, North America, Europe and Japan.

Increase in travellers over the age of 50

Australian seniors had international travel high on the agenda last year. 2013 saw an increase of 2.57 per cent in travellers buying insurance in the 50-59 age group. There was also an increase of 5.7 per cent of policies that included medical screening for travellers with a pre-existing medical condition.

"This may be due to the fact that we offer a quick and simple way to declare pre-existing conditions via an online medical screening questionnaire," Mr Kaisin said.

"We consider all medical conditions and only require customers to produce a medical certificate at the claim stage, not at the policy purchasing stage which many customers find beneficial," he said.

Furthermore, InsureandGo saw a slight increase in policies sold to travellers in the 70-79 age groups in 2013, making up 5.2 per cent of all policies.

Travellers in all age categories over 50 saw increases in 2013 with the greatest rise in 50-59 year olds.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics recorded that the age distribution of Australian residents travelling overseas has been older in the past decade, with the proportion travelling in the 50-69 years age group increasing from 26.1 per cent in 2002 to 28.9 per cent in 2012.*

Most common claims

InsureandGo processed 38 per cent of claims for the loss or theft of personal belongings and baggage (up from 25 percent), with the most popular item being smartphones.

"This is an obvious one," says Kaisin "considering at 65 percent, Australia has one of the highest smartphone penetrations in the world. Smartphone usage is high and it is very common for people to depend on their smartphones to double up as cameras as well. They are a common accessory for many travellers."

'Medical expenses' were the next most frequent claim, making up 37 per cent of all claims from travellers in 2013 (compared to 38 per cent in the previous year), with gastroenteritis being the most common medical condition, followed by food poisoning, then physical injuries from a slip or a fall.

Trips to the US received the most amount of claims, comprising 18.87 per cent of the total claims (compared to 13 percent), followed by Thailand (18.23 per cent up from 11 percent) and Indonesia (16.27 per cent up from 10 percent).

Medical expenses represent the top claims for trips made to both the US and Thailand reflected in almost 43 per cent and 45 per cent of claims to both countries respectively.

Asia Top Destination for Insurance Policies

Asia continued to be the most popular destination for travel insurance policies in 2013 with InsureandGo selling 35 per cent of all policies to Asia, an increase of 2.94 per cent from 2012.

Asia is a popular holiday destination for Australians with key destinations being Indonesia (recorded 910,000) and Thailand (625,000).

"This is not surprising", commented Kaisin, with the strong Aussie dollar in 2013, and the low cost of holidaying in Asia, this region is likely to continue being a popular destination for Australians."

Buyer behaviour

InsureandGo recorded that 15 per cent of policies were purchased via a tablet or smartphone in 2013, up five per cent on the previous year.

More couples travelling

As a traveller type, four percent more couples booked travel insurance in 2013, making up 30 per cent of all customers in the year, while single travellers decreased by five percent from 2012.

Families rose from nine to ten percent.

Insurance still a last minute purchase

InsureandGo General Manager, Sebastien Kaisin said the data revealed that travel insurance is still largely a last minute purchase for most customers.

"In 2013, we found that approximately 35 per cent of all the policies sold were from customers whose departure date was either the same day or within the next two days.

"This shows us that travel insurance is the final part of the holiday purchase process for most travellers. They may not necessarily want to make the purchase, but many travellers are realising they need to."

InsureandGo received a CANSTAR award for its Domestic Travel Insurance policy in late 2013, as well as top ratings for 'International Travel Insurance' for singles, couples and families – achieving 5 stars for all comprehensive policies to New Zealand, Fiji, China, Bali, Thailand, and South Africa.

InsureandGo is one of world‟s largest online travel insurance companies and recently launched in Australia in 2010. Globally, the company covers over 1.6 million travellers every year.

For further information on InsureandGo's award winning travel insurance policies, visit www.insureandgo.com.au.

*(Source: 3404.0 – Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, Dec 2012. www.abs.gov.au)

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