The global economy is here to stay, and travel is necessary in order to keep pace. Employers have a need — in fact, an obligation — to care for employees if they have a medical emergency while traveling on business, but few are prepared to take on the responsibility of implementing or funding the solutions. Many insurers have responded by bundling global emergency travel assistance services with their life, health, or disability policies. For agents representing such products, the assistance component can serve as a compelling differentiator at the sales table, adding a dynamic element to the benefits mix and taking the focus off of products whose only redeeming factor is that they carry the lowest rate. Positioning assistance effectively in the sales process, however, requires a full understanding of the product.
About travel assistance
Global emergency travel assistance programs became popular in 1950s Europe, when new post-World War II geography placed populations speaking different languages in close proximity, and the smallest cross-border medical emergency could have become a complex problem. Today, assistance protects domestic and international travelers with medical referrals, evacuation, repatriation, and many other powerful services.
Assistance is not medical, travel, or trip cancellation insurance. Rather, it is a service that arranges and pays for travelers to find and obtain quality emergency medical care away from home, and to bring the traveler home safely once they are stabilized. Once in the care of a qualified physician or hospital, the costs of actual treatment and hospitalization are covered exclusively by a member’s health insurance plan, just as if the incident had happened at home.
While there are several types of travel assistance available, this article will focus exclusively on those global emergency travel assistance services sold in conjunction with insurance benefit plans.