Thu, Jul 25, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Travel insurance income soars amid airline strikes

‘FASTEST-GROWING’:Travel insurance policies sold by non-life insurers have wider coverage, such as medical expenses, accidental death, lost luggage and delays

By Kao Shih-ching  /  Staff reporter

First-year premium income from travel insurance policies sold online in the first half of this year jumped 42 percent annually to NT$162.6 million (US$5.23 million), as travelers sought better financial protection against labor disputes at the nation’s two major airlines, Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) data showed.

The figure includes NT$103 million for travel insurance policies sold by non-life insurers, up 21 percent from a year earlier, and NT$59.6 million for travel safety policies sold by life insurers, up 102 percent, the data showed.

The number of travel insurance policies sold by non-life insurers increased 178 percent annually to 390,000 policies in the first half, while travel safety policies sold by life insurers rose 12 percent annually to 84,000 policies, they showed.

Consumers preferred travel polices offered by non-life insurers, as their coverage ranges from medical expenses, accidental death, lost luggage, trip interruption to flight delays longer than four or six hours, according to various companies’ Web sites.

By comparison, travel policies sold by life insurers only cover medical expenses and accidental death, although most of the polices provide higher compensation than those offered by non-life insurers, the Web sites showed.

First-year premiums “from travel insurance does not make up a big share of overall online sales of policies, as the amount of each travel policy is lower than other types of insurance,” Insurance Bureau Deputy Director-General Chang Yu-hui (張玉煇) told a news conference on Tuesday.

“However, travel insurance is one of the fastest-growing products sold online,” Chang said.

Buying insurance online is more convenient, faster and cheaper than buying them via conventional channels, the bureau said.

However, consumers have also become aware of the importance of seeking better protection for themselves against labor disputes at airlines, the bureau said.

China Airlines Ltd’s (CAL, 中華航空) pilots launched a strike in February and EVA Airways Corp’s (長榮航空) flight attendants launched a strike last month, it said.

To meet growing demand from consumers, insurers have launched new products and services, with Cathay Century Insurance Co (國泰世紀產險) in May offering new policies compensating consumers for delays up to NT$18,000 and Fubon Insurance Co (富邦產險) deploying artificial intelligence in customer service.

Besides the increasing popularity of travel insurance, online sales of personal injury insurance, compulsory automobile liability insurance and interest-sensitive annuity products also rose from a year earlier, the commission said.

The overall online sales of insurance policies surged 90 percent to N$2.3 billion in the first half, commission data showed.

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