On Tuesday last week, I booked a holiday to Austria. On Thursday it was put on the UK government’s Covid naughty step. Ryanair’s “no flight change fee” / “book in confidence” assurances did not – perhaps predictably – turn out to be what I thought they were.
All would-be international travellers roll the dice when they book these days – even when they (like me) book at very short notice. My home country could impose lockdown and stop me leaving, and the destination country could stop me arriving. Or – as was the case for me – a government could impose conditions which don’t prevent me from going away per se, but make it impossible to do so. (In my case, my family and I would be subject to a two-week self-isolation period after arrival back in the UK, which would make childcare impossible and therefore force us to take a three week holiday.)
It’s not often that you yearn for an insurance product, but for this risk I do. £350 of cash gifted to an airline is enough to matter, and certainly not an amount I would be prepared to wager every time I book a foreign holiday in future.
Equally, this feels like a bounded and easily definable risk for insurers as we enter a world where rolling restrictions appear to be the norm.
So far, travel insurers seem to be talking only about medical cover for Covid. They should think more broadly: I’d happily pay a bit extra to cover unrecoverable expenses.
Who’s going to take the lead and build this product?
Chris leads engagements across strategy and transformation, focusing most of his time on global reinsurance and UK & Ireland retail insurance.
Chris started his career at Munich Re where he was a D&O underwriter. During this time, he gained his ACII qualification. He then moved into consulting, where he has spent 20 years advising (re)insurance management teams around the world on topics including strategy development, operating model redesign, governance optimisation, underwriting transformation and innovation. Chris lives in London and spends a lot of his time with clients in Bermuda and Continental Europe.
Chris frequently authors Oxbow Partners papers and articles. He was the lead author on our InsurTech Impact 25 series. He is a dual British and Austrian citizen and speaks fluent German.