Travel agencies that conduct tour operations traditionally found it difficult to obtain GL and E&O insurance in Canada, according to Québec branch manager Josée Toupin.
“There are not a lot of markets out there for this particular class of business, because many insurers will not offer terms for travel agencies offering packaged or self-prepared tours.”
And that is why Toupin is particularly pleased that South Western Insurance Group Limited has developed a solution in the Lloyd’s market focused specifically on travel agencies and tour operators – as long as the majority of their operations and employees are domiciled in Canada. “This is a brand-new offering for us,” she confirms.
The company’s professional liability coverage for travel agents and tour operators is offered as a combined GL and E&O package. Risks are addressed on an individual account basis, with premiums based on such factors as:
- operational revenues,
- client experience and qualifications,
- types of tours conducted, and
- the use of contracts with limitation of liability/disclaimers
“Our underwriting is very competitive,” Toupin adds, “especially considering the fact that travel agents are permitted a certain percentage of business derived from tour operator activities.”
Claims for this class typically run to incidents like booking errors and improper accommodation. But Toupin describes one recent claim where a travel agency failed to follow through on a travel client’s request to have their medical policy extended – and the client subsequently passed away overseas. Having that client returned home cost the agency about $50,000.
“A lot of agencies are putting package tours together for their clients these days. They will fly you to Europe, put you on a boat for a few days, then have you disembark and visit the local sites with someone on hand to assist you. That type of packaged tour activity did not used to be covered through SWG, so we are excited to be covering it now.”
With the shortage of market choices available to travel agents and tour operators, Toupin cannot overstate how important it is for these businesses to have options.
“It is gratifying that, thanks to SWG’s updated product, travel and tour agencies have access to a whole new market and a reliable coverage alternative.”