Karen Cullen – National director, Business Development, Travel Channel, Allianz Global Assistance

Karen Cullen – National Director, Business Development, Travel Channel, Allianz Global Assistance

Karen Cullen – National director, Business Development, Travel Channel, Allianz Global AssistanceThere’s bound to be a few questions after the merger of two companies, especially when those companies are two major insurance providers. TIC and Allianz Global Assistance merged earlier this year, which greatly impacted the Canadian travel industry. We sit down with Karen Cullen, National Director, Business Development, Travel Channel, who tells us how exactly this merger affects travellers and travel agents today.

1) What do you want Canadian travel agents to know about the merger?

The merger of TIC and Allianz Global Assistance created a ‘best of both worlds’ solution for Canadian travel agents. TIC has always had great success helping our travel agent partners grow their business, thanks to our suite of comprehensive products and high touch support from our national team of Business Development Managers.

With the merger and our rebrand to Allianz Global Assistance, our partners will now also benefit from the strength of our globally recognized brand and unparalleled worldwide presence, which gives us a unique ability to provide localized support to their travelling customers. Thanks to the merger, our depth of experience across all channels of travel insurance has increased significantly, and we look forward to leveraging this expertise to help our partners achieve exceptional growth.

2) What do you want Canadian travellers to know?

In 2015, Allianz ranked as the #1 insurance brand and 41st overall brand in the world, according to the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking. The Allianz name appears on major sports stadiums in Europe, Australia and South America, in sponsorships for F1 Racing and professional soccer teams, and is a major sponsor of the International Paralympics. It’s a name that is well known and trusted beyond Canada’s borders, which is where it matters most for travel insurance. Thanks to this strong international presence, medical providers worldwide recognize Allianz Global Assistance as a name they can trust. This means more immediate, responsive care for Canadian travellers if they need to seek treatment while travelling.

3) How much commission do you offer Canadian travel agents?

We are always willing to discuss the needs of our partners and will continue to offer competitive commissions to travel agents.

4) What tips would you give agents on how to up-sell insurance packages to their clients?

Trip Cancellation benefits are often the easier sell for agents since clients are conscious of protecting their trip investment when booking a holiday. However, many travellers remain unaware of the importance of and need for emergency medical coverage, or still think their provincial health plan will cover them outside the country.

All customers need medical protection when they travel, even the ones who are sure they’re in great health and don’t need it. Travel agents should take the opportunity to educate customers that the unexpected can happen to anyone, whether a minor slip and fall or ear infection, or something more serious like appendicitis.

Remember to also sell your clients on the benefits of travel assistance services that are included in the product. If treatment is required, your travel insurance provider is a lifeline to home. For example, Allianz Global Assistance provides our partners’ clients with referrals to quality medical providers, calls ahead to the hospital to arrange billing and in more serious instances, closely monitors the care provided and arranges for the patient’s return to Canada via commercial flight or air ambulance, if necessary.

Using this information is very helpful when up-selling a client to an All-Inclusive Package plan. Hopefully, your client never needs to use the coverage, but having it will allow them to rest easy and enjoy their trip to the fullest, knowing that both their trip and their health are protected.

5) What’s new for Allianz Global Assistance in 2016?

With the rebrand complete, we will continue building awareness about Allianz Global Assistance among Canadian travel agents. We have a great story to tell and can’t wait to share it with everyone. Early in 2016, an important product enhancement will become available for existing partners and new prospects that will be a perfect fit for travel agents. Lastly, we are continually improving our Learning and Development tools for partners and will be rolling out enhancements focused on making the modules both engaging and fun for users. It’s shaping up to be an exciting year ahead!