The arrival of spring in North America brings not only the start of baseball season but also the busy season for industry conferences and trade shows. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research’s 2017 CEIR Index Report, there are over 13,000 business-to-business and business-to-consumer exhibitions held in North America every year, accounting for just over 107 million attendees and 1.9 million exhibitors. Megalodon Insurance Systems exhibited at the Captive Insurance Companies Association’s (CICA) International Conference in San Diego last month and is excited to attend upcoming events such as the Physician Insurers Association of America’s (PIAA) Medical Liability Conference in Colorado Springs and the Insurance & Accounting Systems Association’s (IASA) Annual Conference in Orlando, amongst others.
Whether you’re an insurance/captive management expert, physician, automobile dealer, plumber or any other type of working professional, chances are you’ve purchased an airline ticket to attend an industry trade show (assuming the conference was more than a reasonable drive from your home, of course). Assuming, too, that you purchased your ticket online, chances are you were given the opportunity to buy travel insurance, which is intended to cover the cost of a trip cancellation (by the airline) or make you whole if you become ill and must skip the conference. Considering a few of us here at Megalodon will be traveling to and from several industry trade shows this year, the insurance nerd and history buff in me wondered how and when travel insurance came to be, and how the product has evolved and grown since its inception.
I shouldn’t have been surprised, then, to learn that Travelers Insurance (the company with the iconic red umbrella logo) was formed in 1864, “for the purpose of insuring travelers against loss of life or personal injury while journeying by railway or steamboat.” The innovation was the brainchild of stoneworker James G. Batterson (the proprietor of a cemetery monument business in Hartford, Connecticut), who observed the concept being practiced while traveling in Europe. At the time, travel insurance was almost exclusively a product for the upper-middle and higher classes, as people of lesser means could rarely afford to travel for leisure. Nevertheless, the risks of travel were significant as events such as theft could potentially cost hundreds of dollars. (A $500 loss in 1864 equals $7,300 in today’s dollars. Not insignificant!) Travelers Indemnity Company covered costs associated from theft, railway disruption and other unexpected circumstances.
Fast forward 153 years and the travel insurance industry generates revenue exceeding $2.2 billion in the United States alone. (Figure courtesy of the U.S. Travel Insurance Association.) At some point during the 20th century, health insurance coverage was added as an option under many travel insurance policies and other innovations targeted losses due to missed hotel reservations, canceled flights and even acts of war and terrorism. Companies now bundle protections to meet travelers’ distinct needs, offering policies that include worldwide emergency hotline services and medical evacuation; benefits for cancelled or interrupted trips (an example being a travel/tour supplier bankruptcy); medical and dental emergencies; lost or damaged baggage; damaged or stolen rental cars; and so forth. In short, today travelers can protect themselves from just about any unforeseen event not within their control.
Thanks to the internet, it’s less expensive than ever to purchase travel insurance; just as consumers can easily compare auto insurance quotes online, buyers of travel insurance can also easily compare policies to purchase a better overall value. So when it comes time to book your next business trip or family vacation, it’s worth considering the purchase of travel insurance (either directly from the airline issuing your airfare or from a third party) to cover any unexpected detours or hiccups.
– Jim Reuter, VP Business Development, is passionate about improving insurance operations using forward-thinking software and systems. He earned a B.A. in History from Ripon College, Ripon, WI. To talk to Jim directly, please call (608) 709-2154 or drop him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.