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ITTN Interview: Craig Donnelly, Director of Business Development, Accident & General

ITTN Interview: Craig Donnelly, Director of Business Development, Accident & General

Last Friday, Accident & General went live with Covid-19 cancellation cover in all its travel insurance policy levels, with no additional cost to the travel agent. Neil Steedman, ITTN’s News, Features & Social Media Editor, asked Craig Donnelly, A&G’s Director of Business Development, how the company is adapting to changes in the travel business.

What percentage of A&G’s travel insurance policies normally come through Irish travel agents and tour operators?

Some 99%, because we solely sell our Fairsure policy through the travel trade.

By how much have these declined over the four months of March – June 2020?

Unfortunately, by approximately 95+%. Almost all of our newly issued policies are existing policies that we have allowed to be transferred to a future date.

Has there been a noticeable recovery in new policies in the first two weeks of July?

It has been minimal so far. However, once confidence in travel increases and the Government restrictions are lifted, we expect to see an increase in uptake. Our new Covid-19 Cancellation cover that we have built into all policy levels is designed to help create confidence in booking that holiday.

Has there been a ‘shift’ from multi-trip annual policies to single-trip policies?

Given the lack of sales it is difficult to gauge. However, we are expecting single-trip policies to outsell annual multi-trip policies until confidence in travel settles.

What new products has A&G introduced recently?

Cancellation cover for Covid-19 went live last Friday. In order to help give confidence to the public booking through their travel agent, it was essential to include cancellation cover due to Covid-19 – it is built into all policy levels, with no additional cost to the travel agent. I am also delighted to say that this is also being retrospectively added to all existing policies.

In addition, with the increase in staycations, we felt that it was important to provide those going on holiday in Ireland to be covered in case of things going wrong – after all, things do go wrong in Ireland as well as on overseas holidays! That is why we have introduced Staycationcover.ie. Not only does this cover cancellation costs (and, yes, Covid-19 is included), it also has a Covid-19 Hospital Benefit cover of €250 per day if hospitalised during your trip. Not only that but it covers the likes of temporary accommodation if a disaster occurs. In addition, people do take their gadgets and bikes with them on holiday, so we also cover gadgets, bikes, personal belongings, tents, and so on. It also covers motor breakdown and a whole lot more. All of this rolled into one and we have introduced this at a remarkably low price – and it is also available for the travel trade to sell.

As our policies are designed specifically for and sold only through the travel trade, our policies tend to be inclusive in nature, that is to say, there is a lot built into our core policies without the need to charge travel agents often expensive optional extras. Winter sports, for example, are built into our mid policy… as is Business Cover, Gadgets and, importantly, Hazardous Activities – as you just don’t know what you may do when you are on holiday!

Do new single-trip and/or multi-trip policies include cover for catching Covid-19?

Yes – both our single-trip and multi-trip policies have cover for medical expenses if a client catches Covid-19 overseas. This also covers additional accommodation and transportation costs if necessary.

Does A&G provide cover for the over-70s and those with preconditions, including for Covid-19 cover, and what sort of additional charges are involved?

I am delighted to say that we have no age limit for any of our single-trip policies – and yes, they all include Covid-19 cancelation and medical cover. Prices go up incrementally, depending on age, existing medical conditions, and destinations.

Any final comment?

Yes. Accident & General turned 50 last year and, although we may all look incredibly young 😊, all Accident & General staff have over 20 years of travel experience each. We may be 50, but that is not slowing us down as we continue to innovate!

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, copywriter, editor and proofreader for 52 years, and News & Features Editor for ‘Irish Travel Trade News’ for the past 42 years.

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