Before we do anything else let’s make sure everyone is clear about the terms we will be using. When we talk about supplier plans, we are referring to any plan offered directly by the airline, cruise line, tour operator, or supplier providing the actual travel arrangements.
When we refer to 3rd party or provider plans, we are talking about any company that focuses just on protecting your clients through plans that offer a combination of trip cancellation, medical coverage, medical and non-medical Evacuation insurance, and assistance throughout the trip. This is why we always recommend agents not refer to our products as just travel insurance but also as travel protection.
The biggest obstacle that agents must overcome with their clients is undoing the fabulous marketing job that suppliers have done that makes their plans look so appealing. It may seem like they are insuring the travelers themselves, but this is simply not trust. There is always an insurer involved. To make things even more confusing many of the companies writing these plans also do 3rd party plans! So what’s the difference?
Plans written for suppliers like the cruise lines are wholesale plans, while the plans offered through travel agents are retails plans. The key difference between the two is where the focus lies. Supplier wholesale plans are designed for simplicity. They offer simple pricing, bare bones coverage, and a heavy concentration on trip cancellation instead of post-departure coverage.
So what is the suppliers biggest crutch? Convenience. They tend to pick the plan that will provide them with the biggest profit margin, because they know many clients won’t even bother to look into other plans, let alone compare coverage!
Third party plans, like the ones offered by TravelSafe, have a different focus. They are designed to provide coverage that benefits the traveler. Taking a balanced approach, they include equally powerful benefits for pre-departure and post-departure coverage. After all, certain benefits should go into effect before the trip while others should go into effect after.
The reason for this is simple: no one plans to cancel their trip, meet delays, or experience a true medical or political emergency. While trip cancellation costs can be understood and even accepted by the traveler, more severe problems like missed connections, hospitalization, or medical evacuation can be both unexpected and financially crippling to those with bare bones coverage.
When explained this way it might seem obvious which type of plan your clients should choose. But we know it isn't always the case. Neither travelers or agents, want to focus on the negative things that could happen during a trip, but no one wants to see financial devastation due to poor awareness.
American travelers are often under the mistaken impression that they will be covered for medical issues abroad, like they are at home. That is why taking supplier coverage may seem like a good idea. However, anyone who compares coverage and understand the risks of travel knows otherwise. Which type of agent are you?