Hurricane season: having travel assistance becomes essential

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Hurricane season: having travel assistance becomes essential
Source: Roar Media
April 21, 2022

CAP Travel Assistance highlights the importance of contracting the policy with a company that can guarantee support at the right time

Hurricane season begins and have a travel assistance policy. To talk about this topic, we have interviewed Greg Pearson, Founder & CEO of CAP Travel Assistance. We share his responses below:

How accurate are hurricane season predictions?
I’m not a meteorologist, nor do I profess to have any specific insight into the accuracy of hurricane season predictions.  However, weather industry professionals historically have been fairly accurate when it comes to predicting how many named storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes we can expect during any given season.  According to data produced by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), they were only off by 2.47 storms from 2010 through 2020.

How to prepare for the hurricane season?
If we’re talking about preparing for an approaching storm during a period of travel, and if the traveler is not able to evacuate the forecasted impact zone, here are just a few measures that should be considered:

  • Ensure you’re in a structure, preferably a hotel that is CAT 5 rated (if possible) to shelter in place.
  • If possible, avoid hotels that are located on beaches, near rivers or inland waterways.
  • Choose an interior room at the hotel if possible.
  • Stay away from windows as the storm approaches.
  • If your room has a bathtub, fill it with water to be used for toilet flushing during a loss of power.
  • Select a hotel that has emergency power capable of powering the facility for an extended period of time. This typically means they have backup generators and enough fuel to keep all essential power on for five days or longer.
  • Let loved ones know where you are and establish a communications / check-in protocol (if possible).
  • Try to secure as much drinkable water and food as possible.
  • Have all necessary medication readily available and try to secure access to a first aid kit.
  • Secure important documents, to include any medical documents, passports, personal identification, and travel documents if you have any.
  • Try to secure access to a fire extinguisher.
  • Make plans to depart the location as soon as possible, which may include overland evacuations or waterborne evacuations if damage occurs at airport locations.

Why should travelers consider buying travel protection and why CAP?
The primary reasons people purchase travel insurance is to protect the financial investment made to purchase travel, to recoup any financial loss (e.g., lost, damaged, or stolen luggage), and medical expenses incurred during a period of travel.

When should we buy travel protection for hurricane season?
We recommend avoiding travel to destinations that are known for being impacted by hurricanes during hurricane season.  That said, there are countless reasons why people would travel during hurricane season and to destinations known for being impacted by hurricanes.  In this case, we strongly advocate for the purchase of a CAP Tripside Assistance plan, in addition to a travel insurance plan that includes a CFAR (cancel for any reason) benefit.  CAP Tripside Assistance MUST be purchased before travel begins.

What are the differences between travel insurance in the market and CAP?
Travel insurance provides some relief for financial loss suffered due to travel disruptions, lost, damaged, or stolen property, and/or possibly medical expenses incurred during a qualifying period of travel.  Access to travel insurance benefits requires a loss before any claim can be considered for reimbursement.  To exercise the benefits of travel insurance, the traveler must complete a claims process and typically pay a deductible.  The traveler will more than likely pay out of pocket and then seek reimbursement through the claims process.  All travel insurance policies have monetary limits.

Conversely, CAP Tripside Assistance provides travelers with destination-based health, safety, and security information delivered through a web interface or via the CAP Advantage mobile assistance app.  The CAP Advantage app also includes a one-touch emergency assistance button that instantly connects the traveler to FocusPoint’s 24/7 multi-lingual assistance center.  The main benefits of the CAP Tripside Assistance Plan are no-cost medical and security evacuation services, to include hospital to hospital air medical transfers for customers that become hospitalized due to COVID-19.

CAP does not require travelers to complete a claims process, pay a deductible and/or pay out of pocket and seek reimbursement through the claims process, which it doesn’t have to begin with.

Finally, there are standout benefits of CAP that are close to impossible to secure through a traditional travel insurance product.  These include crisis consultation and no cost evacuations to a temporary or terminal safe haven for incidents such as natural disasters, acts of terrorism or political threats that trigger riots, strikes or civil commotion.

What is the difference between CAP domestic and CAP international?
To trigger the benefits of a CAP domestic plan in the United States, the traveler must be at least 100 miles away from their permanent residence.  For a CAP international plan, travelers simply need to cross an international border (which could be less than 100 miles) to trigger the fully funded assistance benefits of the plan.

What are some of CAP's benefits during hurricane season? Please provide any examples in the past. 

Sample benefits available during and/or leading up to a hurricane include:

  • Weather-related travel alerts
  • 24/7 travel assistance, to include information related to flight operations, ground transportation, lodging, evacuation routes and safe haven locations.
  • Medical advice and assistance seeking medical attention at or near the travel destination
  • Assistance connecting with local emergency services if necessary
  • The deployment of crisis consultants to assist with evacuations and ground transportation where needed.
  • Where possible, air evacuations to return travelers to their home.

Each year, FocusPoint conducts evacuations of travelers impacted by natural disasters.  Most evacuations are conducted before customers suffer bodily harm or property damage.  This is a key differentiator between traditional travel insurance that requires a loss (e.g., bodily harm or property damage) and CAP Tripside Assistance that responds to the threat of a loss vs. loss itself.

The service is only aimed at individuals or can be groups such as MICE/Corporate groups by companies?
The CAP Tripside Assistance Plan is available to individuals and groups alike.  FocusPoint has partner programs for travel agencies and tour operators that are engaged in one-off bookings or MICE / group travel bookings.  Partners can earn up to 30% commission for every CAP Tripside Assistance Plan sold.  Programs include online booking tools and agency dashboards that provide visibility of all transactions made through the CAP online booking tool.  Groups up to 20 people can also purchase CAP from FocusPoint’s direct to consumer retail site.

What percentage can be assigned to leisure and corporate travelers? 
The fastest growing segment for CAP Tripside Assistance is the leisure segment, which represents approximately 40% of all CAP transactions.  We estimate that the leisure segment will continue to out-pace the corporate travel segment and eventually make up close to 75% of all transactions.

Where does CAP need to strengthen?
Over 13 million people trust CAP to provide them peace of mind during travel.  That said, we need to continue to amplify our message and strengthen awareness in and throughout Latin America.

What are your sales channels?
We have a number of channel distribution relationships with key stakeholders in the travel and insurance verticals.  Ideal channel partners include Travel Agencies, Tour Operators, Tourism Boards, Online Travel Agents (OTA’s), Affinity Groups and Membership Organizations and every touch point in the travel experience from Airlines to Lodging and even Ride Share companies.


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