TORONTO — There’s bound to be some buzz surrounding any established travel company that enters the Canadian market – and Travelex Insurance Services is certainly no different.
Ever since announcing its launch in Canada last month, the insurance provider has piqued the interest of travel advisors who now have access to its wide range of travel plans, all of which are commissionable at anywhere between 25%-45%.
Well established in the United States where it has been operating for 25 years, Travelex – part of the Zurich family of global brands – is now hoping to make its mark in Canada, and it’s looking to travel advisors to help set them up for success.
We sit down with Shannon Lofdahl, President and CEO, to discuss Travelex’s growth strategy in Canada and how the company differs from other insurance providers in an increasingly competitive landscape.
Why do you think it took so long for Travelex to expand into Canada, and why is now the right time to do it?
“Travelex had plans to enter into the Canadian market in 2019, however, COVID-19 delayed our expansion, as travel had come to a standstill around the globe. Travelex has many existing U.S. partners that have asked us to support their operations in Canada, and we want to be there to meet their needs and to align with their geographical footprints.
“We’re also quite excited to support the growth that is forecast for the Canadian market, as reports indicate a full recovery for Canada’s travel and tourism industry as early as 2024. We’re not new to Canada; we’ve had well-established operations in Canada for over 30 years, so we know how to service Canadians. We look to enhance this proposition under the Travelex brand, bringing Canadians travel protection that will protect both their travel investments and the moments that matter most during their travels.”
Canada already has several travel insurance providers that are well established. How will Travelex stand out from the crowd?
“Canada is a mature market with many well-established travel insurance brands, but we think there is room for more competition. Canadians want options, and they want travel insurance options that will support them when they need it. This is where Travelex shines — we are there when travellers need us. From answering the complex questions prior to booking insurance to managing emergent issues that arise while travellers are on vacation all the way to ensuring claims are paid promptly.”
What are some travel booking habits/trends that are distinct to the Canadian market, and how does Travelex meet these trends?
“Canadians look to their travel providers to recommend the right travel insurance and provider. Travelex is excited to work with travel providers to empower them with the scenarios and information to help them feel comfortable and transparent in recommending travel insurance to their clients. We offer many marketing tools, sales strategies, and materials to ensure that travel providers feel confident in our travel insurance products and services.”
What are some of your top products that you want to highlight? And do you offer coverage for COVID-19?
“We offer a broad suite of travel protection products, from medical-only plans to comprehensive offerings. We also provide coverage for COVID-19. In addition to our insurance products, we provide traveller assistance services, which include concierge and passport or visa services to emergency assistance and evacuation.”
How important is it to work with Canadian travel agents, and how do you plan on reaching out to them directly?
“It is very important to us that we develop mutually beneficial partnerships with Canadian travel agents. Travelex has more than 25 years’ experience working with the agency distribution. We built our business serving agency owners and travel advisors. We are eager to cultivate these relationships at travel shows and directly with those we already know and those we will meet.”
Would you say that more travellers are purchasing travel insurance as a result of the pandemic?
“More travellers are absolutely opting to purchase travel insurance. COVID-19 raised awareness of travel protection and presented travel challenges the world has never experienced before. Travellers need this protection now more than ever.”
In short, what do you want travel agents to know about Travelex?
“We at Travelex can’t wait to meet Canadian travel agents, and we’re excited to support your businesses and your travellers as they explore their travel options.”
For more information about Travelex, go to www.travelexinsurance.ca.