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 used to purchase 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 the options of its integration from both business and technical aspects. Also, we look through some large travel insurance providers and mention aggregators and 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 the 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 the way of ensuring their customers don’t have to go elsewhere for purchasing insurance. Even though these companies are not experts in travel insurance services, they can cooperate with global GDS and large travel insurers and use their products actively used by global tourists.
Current Travel Insurance Market Trends
In April, Forbes Advisor published 2022 Outlook For Travel Insurance Buyers research where it shares current trends in the travel insurance industry. Thus, 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 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 up 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 the 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
Even though buying a travel insurance plan does not necessarily mean one will face problems or some sort of emergenices during the trip, nobody can be one hundred percent sure everything will go smoothly. You may lose the luggage after the flight, unexpectedly get sick (as before, as well already during the trip), or just simply be informed your flight is delayed. For all these cases, travel insurance providers offer multiple types of coverage. Let’s mention the most common and essential among them:
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 cosmetics.
Medical Evacuation. This type of trip protection plans help 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 enlisted in the purchased insurance plan. So the prepaid or nonrefundable trip cost (like cruise tickets, hotel reservations, airfare etc.) may be covered in the result.
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. Still, many things depend on the price and additional benefits or exceptions of the proposed offer.
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 one may access their products or packages.
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 as a result. These might be questions like Where to find the best medical coverage? or 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 for you some major travel insurance providers and GDSs that have API-integration to see what they propose. Let’s start from large aggregators and then move on to the end providers. By no means this list is exhausting and there are many other options to choose from.
Travel Insurance Providers Comparison Chart
Amadeus: a Multi-Channel 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
- hospital treatment
- damaged or lost luggage
- medical assistance
Amadeus Insurance can be reached through two SOAP API offers: 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 ones. To learn more about Amadeus API integration, feel free to check our article dedicated to this topic. Beware that insurance integration is only available for enterprise partners.
Amadeus Insurance API enables the communication and data exchange between web booking engines or front office systems by providing a set of XML messages. Being language independent and platform-neutral, Amadeus Insurance API is convenient for 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 offers. Working with the Big Three GDS (Amadeus, Sabre, Travelport), INBSYS provides technological 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 fast 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 access. For OTAs and airlines widget is totally free, which enables quick and simple integration into B2C websites of the clients.
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 countries as France, Greece, Cyprus, United Kingdom, countries of Latin America etc. New countries (USA, Canada, Nordics) are planned to be added soon.
TiBi Sabre Red App can be accessed through the Sabre Red App Centre. It can also be 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 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
- 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 accordingly: OneTrip Premier, Prime or Basic Plan,
AllTrips Executive, Prime or Basic Plan.
OneTrip Prime, being 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. You may reach more detailed information upon each of them at Allianz Travel’s website.
The area of coverage 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
- hospital expenses
There also comes some additional benefits packs:
- snow pack
- cruise pack
- adventure pack
Allianz Global Assistance provides Insurance REST API access which 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.
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. Additional benefit comes in the form of a pre-existing medical condition exclusion waiver that comes 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
Notedly, AIG Travel Guard policies have additional coverage options like medical or security bundle, pet bundle coverage, rental vehicle damage coverage and some other.
Among most common coverages one may find such offers as 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 a global community with coverage for all types of travel-related issues and offers three comprehensive travel insurance plans: Gold, Silver, and Platinum.
The Gold plan is the most popular one, which includes all benefits enlisted 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 Skier Days
- Lost Golf Rounds
In general, AXA Assistance plans cover all major travel insurance benefits like baggage loss or delay, CFAR, travel interruption, trip cancellation, emergency evacuation, emergency medical expense.
What concerns 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. Among the trip essentials offered by this provider one may find the following options:
- trip cancellation
- trip delay (when it’s caused by the reason covered in a purchased plan)
- travel interruption
- travel medical
- emergency medical evacuation
- non-medical emergency transportation
- 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 the Explorer includes all benefits, covered by the Standard one, but offers higher coverage limits. Additionally, it includes benefit coverage for over 200 of extreme activities (like scuba diving, mountain biking, surfing, cliff jumping etc.) and rental car damage coverage.
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 Does The Future of the Travel Insurance Market Tell?
Grand View Research Inc. reports the travel insurance market is expected to be worth $63.0 billion by 2030. What is more, it will expand at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 15.4 percent in the same timeline. So, high chances are there will be a growing demand for travel insurance services. Various types of holidays covered by the mass media, global digitalization and 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 at the leading position. Speaking about the distribution channels, insurance companies are still dominating the market and this situation seems to remain unchanged. However, the services of OTAs and travel companies also become increasingly popular and this popularity is expected to grow in future. Most commonly, this is caused by the convenience of API-based integration of travel insurance they are able to provide in collaboration with different GDSs.