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01-06-2004, 12:38 AM #1
Travelers Insurance Company's Answer
I hope this helps some of you understand how traveler's insurance works, as most companies pitch their product like they'll be your mom and dad abroad, or like Craig's Travelers's Checks (from theold days of SNL).
Thank you for emailing us.
Weíre specialist in the area of international travel and expatriate medical insurance. Iím glad you emailed because we do offer a number of plans not available from our website. I hope my answers below are helpful (please scroll down and look for my answers marked ***).
InsuranceToGo - Worldwide Insurance Agency
500 Professional Center Dr., Suite 515
Novato, CA 94947
415-898-0584 Phone 415-898-0877 Fax
2002 IMG Contest Winner
2001 IMG Entrepreneur Award
2000 IMG Technology Award
1999 IMG President's Award
Sent: Sunday, January 04, 2004 4:21 PM
Subject: Seeking Definitive Information on Traveler's Insurance
I have been reviewing your website and have some questions.
1) Is your policy a reimbursement policy or will your carriers get actively involved in to guarantee hospitalization and payment in a foreign country will be covered?
*** Thatís a good question and the answer depends upon a number of factors. 1. For small claims with any carrier are handled on a reimbursement basis so letís eliminate those claims and go onto the big claims. 2. Not all companies have a guarantee of claim payment for hospitalization. We do offer a company that will do that but they are 2-3x more expensive than all the other plans out there. Also, please note that in some parts of the world direct payment of a claim is not up to the insurance company but the provider. For example, some providers will not accept a direct payment from the insurance company. Rather, the provider may want itís payment upfront from you. Canít solve that problem.
2) Will foreign hospitals recognize your company and accept the coverage as well as be able to contact a foreign language -speaking representative for assurance they will get paid?
*** Just to make sure weíre all on the same page, InsuranceToGo is not an insurance company. Rather, weíre international insurance brokers. We represent most of the top international health and travel insurance companies worldwide.
*** Of the companies we represent some are more recognized than others. It depends upon where you intend to travel and we can work with you on that. All of our international insurance carriers are able to converse in multiple languages (a little industry secret here Ė many use translation services provided by their phone carrier). The real issue is what company can handle claims, communication, payments ect better than other. We can assist you with a better idea of where your going, what your personal healthcare needs are and how long will you be gone.
3) Is a multi-language insurance card issued?
*** No, we have companies that allow you to select a language but I donít know of any companies that print cards in a dozen different languages on the same card. Rather than do that our carrier use their alarm centers to handle communication in non-English languages.
4) What other feel good reasons can you give me regarding why should I do business with your company, rather than, say, American Express Traveler's Insurance?
*** Again, weíre not an insurance company but brokers. First, I would say that out of all my friends that are international insurance brokers (we know most of the people you pulled up when you searched for our site) I donít know of anyone offering American Express Travelerís Insurance. Not to knock AMEX (we use them for our corporate account) but I never run up against them. We deal exclusively with insurance companies that specialize in international insurance rather than a credit card company that offers an add on service.
*** I think the reason you would want to deal with us is that we handle a very large number of new travel clients each year, we service a very large book of expatiate medical clients, we have won many awards for production, service and innovation. There are a lot of web sites offering international insurance but very few of those have a 20 year background in the industry like we do. We can even insure you if you want to go to Iraq as a security guard (we have 15 there right now). I donít think too many insurance companies or brokers can say that.
I am sincerely interested in a traveler's insurance company that delivers rather than one that issues general promises than might not pan out when needed. I have consulted a number of traveler's chat rooms and message boards on the internet and the consensus is that few actually deliver what they infer they will.
*** I absolutely understand your concern. I like emails like yours because weíre consultants and I like to help people. There is a reason that so many people get burned with travel insurance.
1. They donít understand their benefits because the broker or representative at the insurance company didnít bother to explain them.
2. They purchased the wrong plan bemuses the broker or insurance rep didnít ask them the right questions.
3. The plan they purchased was horrible to begin with.
4. There is a lack of coordination in the claim which causes delays if not a denial of the claim.
5. Many international insurance companies have been created in the last 5 years. Most are not even real insurance companies rather they are MGUís (Managing General Underwriters). Weíre an MGA (Managing General Agency) that means we can assist other insurance brokers with their clients needs (we have over a hundred insurance brokers that outsource their international clients to us and we pay them a commission). Some MGUís do a great job other are terrible. Again, we can guide you.
**** The best thing for us to do would be to set up a conference call time. Iím embarrassed that Iíve taken this long to get back to you but we were truly swapped today (Itís 11pm and Iím still handling email from Sunday). Why donít you email me a few times we can talk and your phone number. If I can be of assistance I would be happy to help.
*** PS I also included an article we wrote that I thought you might like. It was written for insurance agents but I think you still find it relevant.
01-06-2004, 01:34 AM #2
Well, I'm bemused too.