Travel Insurance: Coverage, API Integration and Major Providers Explored
According to the International Travel & Health Insurance Journal, only about 20 percent of travelers in the USA purchased travel insurance before the Covid-19 pandemic, but at present this number has increased to more than 60 percent. That is why travelers become more concerned about the benefits of the insurance plan they want to buy. Undoubtedly, OTAs and other travel companies should be aware of it to make sure their clients get the best travel insurance options available on the market.
In this post, we discuss what travel insurance is and how it may be integrated from both business and technical aspects. Also, we look through some large travel insurance providers and highlight the major GDSs among them.
Travel Insurance: How It Works and What Typically Should Be Covered
Travel insurance is a purchased plan or package that protects a traveler by covering unexpected financial risks and losses that might happen during a trip. There are many examples of such risks like a sudden trip cancellation, flight delay, or any problems with luggage.
For OTAs and travel agencies, providing a travel protection plan is a way of ensuring their customers don’t have to go elsewhere to purchase insurance. Even though these companies are not experts in travel insurance services, they can cooperate with global GDSs and large travel insurers and sell their products that are actively used by global tourists.
Current Travel Insurance Market Trends
In April, Forbes Advisor published 2022 Outlook For Travel Insurance Buyers where it shares current trends in the travel insurance industry. The research finds that it is expected that trip cancellation will remain one of the major components of travel insurance coverage, as the coronavirus pandemic is still affecting the industry. This should be a warning sign for providers that disregard the importance of this type of coverage and do not always include it in their trip protection packages.
Another study estimated the US travel insurance market to be $3.44 billion in 2022, and by 2027 it is expected to grow to $7.74 billion. This means travel insurance services are slowly but surely gaining popularity among American tourists.
The expected growth of the US travel insurance market, Source: Research and Markets
OTAs and corporate travel management companies selling tickets or travel packages can take part in this process and provide journey protection services to their clients. Many travelers look for such time-saving options where they can buy insurance together with travel products at the same place so that there is no need to search somewhere else.
Types of Common Travel Insurance Coverage
Buying travel insurance does not mean there will be problems or some sort of emergenices during a trip, nobody can be one hundred percent sure everything will go smoothly. You may lose the luggage after the flight, get unexpectedly sick (before or during a trip), or just simply be informed your flight is delayed. For all these cases, travel insurance providers offer multiple types of coverage. Here are the most common and essential ones:
Medical Emergencies. Sometimes, this coverage is confused with travel health insurance; however, there is a big difference between these two. Unlike travel health, medical emergency coverage pays for medical expenses in emergency situations and does not include chronic conditions or preventive care treatment. Also, it usually doesn’t cover elective cosmetic insurance.
Medical Evacuation. This type of trip protection plans helps travelers by covering transportation to the nearest medical facility in case of emergency, including evacuation or even repatriation when it is required (for example, for business travelers that visit other countries). You can learn more about the principles of travel risk management in our post.
Trip Cancellation or Delay. This coverage helps in situations when a person wants to cancel the upcoming trip due to reasons that are enumerated in the purchased insurance plan. So, the prepaid or nonrefundable trip cost (like cruise tickets, hotel reservations, airfare, etc.) may be covered.
Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR). When you plan an upcoming trip, you never know for sure what kind of emergency might happen and make you cancel the planned journey. Sometimes these reasons are included in a purchased plan but, when it is not this way, CFAR secures you as usually this type of coverage provides you with more than 50-75 percent of your pre-paid or non-refundable trip cost.
Baggage Emergencies. Here the purpose is clear: in case your luggage is lost, stolen or damaged, all the expenses are covered by the insurance company. Still, the rates will depend on a particular provider.
Benefits necessary for a typical travel insurance package
Ideally, all these benefits should be present altogether in a single plan or package. Many things depend on the price and additional benefits or exceptions of the proposed policy.
Let’s explore some major GDS and travel insurers that provide API-based integration of their services to see what plans they have and how their products or packages can be accessed.
Major Travel Insurance API Providers: What They Offer and How to Access Their Services
When someone thinks about purchasing a travel protection plan, many questions may arise: Where to find the best medical coverage? What provider offers the lower rates for trip cancellation? The ability to choose from a wide range of insurance options available today is a high priority for modern travelers.
We have selected some major travel insurance providers and GDSs with API-integration to see what they offer. Let’s start from large aggregators and then move on to the end providers. This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many other options to choose from.
Travel Insurance Providers Comparison Chart
Amadeus: a Multichannel Travel Insurance Solution
In terms of travel insurance, Amadeus offers cross-sell ancillary services and travel insurance for OTAs and retail travel agencies. The company gives access to 30 providers including travel sellers and travel insurance companies. These services can be purchased directly on Amadeus’ selling platform. The access to these providers is available both via the agent portal and via APIs.
At present, there are several travel insurance products available through Amadeus Insurance:
- trip cancellation,
- damaged or lost luggage, and
- medical assistance.
Amadeus insurance can be reached through two SOAP API options: Travel Insurance Booking API and Travel Insurance Shopping API. The former enables customers to book a particular insurance product. The latter helps them to request a needed list of priced products that meet the parameters indicated by the customer.
At present, the company has two types of API: self-service and enterprise. To learn more about Amadeus API integration, feel free to check our article dedicated to this topic. Be aware that insurance integration is only available for enterprise partners.
Amadeus insurance API enables communication and data exchange between web booking engines or front office systems by providing a set of XML messages. Language independent and platform-neutral, Amadeus Insurance API is convenient for enabling fast and easy implementation. Travel insurance of Amadeus also has a low cost of implementation which helps businesses of different size and volumes of data to increase automation levels.
INBSYS: a Comprehensive Travel Insurance Distribution Platform Partnered with the Big Three GDSs
INBSYS International is the distribution platform for travel insurance. Working with the Big Three GDSs (Amadeus, Sabre, Travelport), INBSYS provides technical solutions for the modern travel insurance market in form of three widgets:
A-TA (Amadeus Travel Assistant) — web application for B2B and B2C services, fully integrated with Amadeus. A-TA is connected to insurance providers via API so OTAs and travel companies can have instant access to information about pricing, booking, reporting, and sales tracking or distribution.
TIBI (Travel Insurance Booking Interface) — the web application & .NET plugin, fully integrated into Sabre and Travelport. This widget helps book travel insurance quickly and smoothly. How is it used? TIBI can be incorporated into the desktop of the client (agency or travel company), then, after the on-screen environment is created, clients can book, distribute or print insurance policies directly from a laptop or other devices. TIBI has access to a large list of travel insurance products from multiple providers, operating in such European countries as UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Luxembourg.
How A-Ta Web Application Looks Like, Source: INBSYS
Any OTA, TMC, or airline booking provider that wants to connect with INSYS hub can connect with its platform through the API. For OTAs and airlines the widget is totally free, which enables quick and simple integration into client’s B2C websites.
TIBI Sabre Red App is the app that helps travel agencies book travel insurance products and services within Sabre Red Workspace in just several clicks. It offers a big variety of insurance providers operating in such European countries as France, Greece, Cyprus, United Kingdom, countries in Latin America, etc. They are planning to add new countries like USA, Canada, Nordics.
TiBi Sabre Red App can be accessed through the Sabre Red App Centre. It is also available as an API to be further integrated directly in the workflow of the online booking engine. To reach this, travel managers can ask for the technical documentation of the Sabre Red App.
Trawex: TravelTech Aggregator Offering Multiple Travel Protection Options
Trawex is the Indian travel tech consulting company that offers travel insurance services and travel technology solutions which are an integral part of its Internet Booking Engine. This integration offers a wide range of renowned and reliable insurance providers, which helps the customers of OTAs and TMCs to choose the best fit among the multiple market players.
The coverage area of Trawex services includes most common travel protection options offered by the majority of providers mentioned in this post. These are such benefits as:
- baggage issues (loss, delay, or damage),
- passport and personal documentation loss, and
- medical expenses and transportation (or repatriation).
Trawex ensures travel insurance XML API integration for OTAs and travel management companies. Also the company has API interfaces that help travel platforms automate the necessary end-to-end processes such as, for instance, ticket issuance.
Allianz Travel: Multiple Options of Single Trip and Annual Plans With API Access
Allianz Travel Insurance offers a single trip plan and an annual plan for multiple trips. At present, there are three options for each plan type: OneTrip Premier, Prime, or Basic Plan, AllTrips Executive, Prime, or Basic Plan.
OneTrip Prime, the most popular one, is convenient for family travel as it offers free coverage for 17-year-old children and tourists with parents or grandparents. OneTrip Premier has all the benefits of the previous one, but enlists much more trip cancellation reasons. More detailed information is available at Allianz Travel’s website.
Coverage types offered by Allianz Travel includes main travel insurance options such as:
- trip cancellation or delay,
- trip interruption,
- overseas medical bills coverage,
- lost/damaged/stolen luggage,
- hospital liability, and
- hospital expenses.
There are also some additional benefits packages for cruises as well as skiing, and adventure vacations.
Allianz Global Assistance provides Insurance REST API access that can be tested in HTTP requests and XML message formats. All Allianz Travel APIs share some common features like support of the language used for response messages, content negotiation, etc. The latter means that API content can be reached in either JSON or XML formats.
In 2021, Allianz Partners worked with the air ticket booking engine Jettzy to provide travel insurance integrated into the Jettzy’s flight booking services.
AIG Travel Guard: Booking.com’s Preferred Insurance Provider With Multiple Plans
AIG Travel Guard offers single trip plans and annual plans for multiple journeys, having three comprehensive plan types: Deluxe Plan, Preferred Plan, and Essential Plan.
Deluxe Plan has the highest level of medical expense coverage. An additional benefit is the pre-existing medical condition exclusion waiver available when purchased within 15 days of the Initial Trip Payment. It also includes coverage for trip cancellation (even due to job loss). More detailed information about plan coverages can be found at AIG Travel Guard’s official website.
Visual representation of AIG Travel Assistance App, Source: AIG Travel Guard
Notably, AIG Travel Guard policies have additional coverage options like a medical or security bundle, pet coverage, rental vehicle damage coverage and some othera.
Among the most common coverages there are medical expenses incurred overseas, medical evacuation and repatriation, travel cancellation or delay, travel cancellation due to insolvency, trip interruption or curtailment, trip delay (including flight diversion), medical transportation,personal baggage (including laptop), jewelry coverage etc.
By the way, all these benefits are used by the popular OTA Expedia that partners with AIG Travel and offers these insurance services to its clients.
AXA Assistance: Travel Insurance Provider With a Rich History
AXA Assistance Travel Insurance is a trusted worldwide travel insurer with more than 60 years of experience. It provides the global community with coverage for all types of travel-related issues, offering three comprehensive travel insurance plans: Gold, Silver, and Platinum.
The Gold plan is the most popular one. It includes all benefits listed in Silver, but also offers the pre-existing conditions waivers, and a change to upgrade primary medical coverage. Platinum Plan has CFAR coverage option that works within 14 days of a tourist’s initial trip deposit.
Also, it provides some extra coverages for physical activities:
- sports equipment rentals (bicycles, mopeds, e-bikes, skis, snowboards),
- lost sky days, and
- golf rounds that couldn’t be played.
In general, AXA Assistance plans cover all major travel insurance benefits like baggage loss or delay, CFAR, travel interruption, trip cancellation, emergency evacuation, and emergency medical expense.
Concerning the technical aspect of using its services, AXA Assistance API ensures end-to-end insurance transactional REST API access via common HTTP methods (get, post, patch, etc.).
World Nomads: Insurance for Adventurous Travelers That Offers Coverage For Extreme Activities
Targeted mainly at budget and adventure-seeking travelers, World Nomads is a good option for both international and domestic trips. The trip essentials offered by this provider one may find the following options:
- trip cancellation,
- trip delay (when caused by a reason covered in a purchased plan),
- travel interruption,
- medical issues,
- emergency medical evacuation,
- non-medical emergency transportation, and
- lost, stolen, or delayed luggage.
World Nomads has two levels of insurance plans: Standard plan and Explorer plan. The main difference between them is that Explorer includes all benefits, covered by Standard, but offers higher coverage limits. Additionally, it includes benefit coverage for over 200 extreme activities (like scuba diving, mountain biking, surfing, cliff jumping, etc.) and rental car damage.
The company offers a global travel insurance partnership program through which it ensures easy API integration, unlimited referral fees, no-fixed term contract, and many other benefits.
What Is the Future of the Travel Insurance Market?
Grand View Research Inc. reports the travel insurance market is expected to be worth $63 billion by 2030. What’s more, it will expand at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 15.4 percent in the same timeline. So, more than likely there will be a growing demand for travel insurance services. Various types of vacations covered by mass media, global digitalization, and the convenience of online travel booking engines — all these factors contribute to why more and more travelers are eager to look for multiple travel protection options.
Future will likely expose high interest in travel insurance services, so get prepared
Statistically, the single-trip insurance coverage segment remains in the leading position. Regarding distribution channels, insurance companies are still dominating the market and this situation seems to remain unchanged. However, the services of OTAs and travel companies have also become increasingly popular and this popularity is expected to grow in fthe future. This is likely a result of the convenience of API-based integration of travel insurance that they are able to provide in collaboration with different GDSs.
Interested in travel APIs? Check our other pieces on the topic: