By Peter Alter
Even though the world is opening up again and we are hopefully moving beyond Covid – 19 dominating the headlines, the risks and impacts of Covid will continue to challenge travelers for some time to come. Issuers looking to encourage travel purchases on their products should consider providing Covid Protection benefits.
The Covid Protection Plan is designed to help keep travelers protected against Covid-19, but also provide a safe and quick return home with minimal expense if a positive test is received.
Pre-departure benefits provide Pre-Trip Planning and Assistance to educate the traveler with specific country insurance and testing requirements, and real time updates on Covid status and travel concerns at the specific destination.
Post-departure benefits include coverage for emergency medical expenses, medical transport home, additional expenses resulting from quarantine, and travel and emergency assistance.
To learn the different ways that Covid Protection can be provided to your customers and deliver loyalty, appreciation, and spend in return, please contact us using the form at the bottom of this page.
Challenge & Opportunity
There is significant pent-up consumer demand for travel. Travel transactions are already increasing, with large growth expected ahead as the world emerges from lockdown.
Travel spend, and especially cross-border international travel spend, is desirable activity for an issuer to attract.
Until Covid is truly controlled around the globe, which could be a long time, travelers will need help understanding and protecting against the risks and requirements that Covid places on travel.
A New York Times article from May 5, 2021 offers further insights on this point: The Dream: International Travel. The Reality: Chaos and Confusion
Every foreign country has their own requirements, risks, and ramifications for visitors from the US. There is an ever-changing mosaic of requirements travelers must navigate successfully in order to enjoy safe and stress-free travel.
There are many examples of public figures unexpectedly testing positive for Covid-19, and the resulting impacts on their daily lives. Examples include:
- Jon Rahm - professional golfer forced to withdraw from The Memorial PGA tournament at the completion of the third round with a commanding lead.
- Chris Paul - NBA All Star guard forced to quarantine and miss multiple playoff games.
- 8 members of the NY Yankees team and organization - missed 10 days of the season with forced quarantine
- Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson - professional actor forced to delay movie production due to quarantine
- Tyson Fury - champion heavyweight professional boxer tested positive and forced to delay next fight scheduled for July
While the impact of Covid on athletes and celebrities is well documented, we are seeing daily occurrences of members of the general traveling public being forced to quarantine in foreign countries after unexpectedly testing positive for Covid. The frequency of this happening will likely rise significantly as more countries re-open their borders to US travelers, and international travel grows.
The most common use case for the Covid Protection Plan will be travelers that test positive during the course of their trip. In many cases the positive test result will be a surprise as many people are asymptomatic. Following a positive Covid test, travelers will be forced to quarantine for 10-14 days. This will result in significant unplanned additional expenses for lodging, meals, travel ticket changes, and other delay related items (parking fees, pet boarding, etc.) The Covid Protection Plan can provide coverage for emergency medical expenses, medical transport home, and additional expenses resulting from required quarantine.
Cardholders planning travel need to be aware of travel requirements, have required insurance coverage in place, and protect themselves against the risks of a Covid event while traveling.
Our response and solution to these issues and risks has multiple components which can be offered together as a comprehensive Covid Protection Plan, or unbundled:
- Provide focused assistance to travelers in advance of their trip to assist with planning and help prevent Covid related issues during travel.
- Provide insurance protection to travelers to protect against unexpected financial losses that may be experienced during travel due to Covid related events.
- Provide cardholders with benefits that meet the three minimum entry requirements for many international travel destinations; minimum medical coverage, travel delay/quarantine coverage, and evacuation/repatriation benefits.
These benefits provide valuable coverage, as well as peace of mind, and will provide strong encouragement to charge travel to an account with Covid Protection included.
The components of the Covid Protection Plan include:
- Up to $250,000 of medical transport protection per traveler to return the traveler to their home city if the traveler tests positive with COVID-19 while on a covered trip.
- $50,000 Accident & Sickness Medical Expense
- $200 / day Trip Delay Benefit with up to $2,800 per Trip (assumes 14 day coverage in case of quarantine and meets entry requirements for most countries)
- Access to a Global Risk Portal providing real time updates to customers on travel situations worldwide.
- Pre-Trip Planning & Information
- Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
The Covid Protection Plan can be offered as an automatic, no cost to the cardholder benefit for trips booked to the covered account. Benefits can also be made available in a cardholder paid model, or hybrid "top-up” version with a base benefit provided by the issuer and expanded benefits selected and paid by cardholder option. Covid Protection benefits can be provided and customized by portfolio or rewards program to support product differentiation.
Covid Protection is designed to address the pandemic concerns of travelers. With Covid Protection benefits in place, cardholders gain the added security and peace of mind needed to return safely to traveling - and charging travel to their Covid protected card account.
For more information, check out the video interview at the bottom of this page.
If you're interested in learning more, please complete this form: