For travelers, “the worst of the pandemic is behind us”, says CEO of Generali Global Assistance

Is the pandemic finally over? And what does that mean for Spring Break and the upcoming Summer Break? I asked Chris Carnicelli, CEO of Generali Global Assistance, for his expert advice. Here is our interview.

Several countries have lifted their travel restrictions, and omicron appears to be headed for releases. What is your vision of travel?

I am truly optimistic that the worst of the pandemic is behind us and that we will start traveling globally again this year. Seeing these travel restrictions lifted and the omicron variant disappearing in parts of the world is encouraging, and I can’t wait to start exploring the world again.

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You said this winter travel season is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. How? ‘Or’ What?

Covid-19 is still a concern, especially with the emergence of the omicron variant, but people are traveling again – and many for the first time since the pandemic began. So there are a lot of interesting factors at play. People are willing to travel, but they are being cautious. We are seeing shorter booking windows, but also great interest in travel.

How did the travel industry perform during omicron?

We did quite well. The vacation rental space was particularly successful. People are still worried about the virus and the industry is still feeling that hesitation, but people are also ready to travel again and see loved ones again. Overall, we’ve seen a lot of growth and a lot of improvement this year.

One of the biggest trends during the pandemic is the mad rush to rent a vacation home. People don’t think about travel insurance when renting a vacation home. How can travel insurance protect you?

Travel insurance can protect you in several ways. Renting a vacation home is an investment, and travel insurance can protect you against losing that investment if you have to cancel or cut short your trip for a covered reason.

Travel insurance can also help protect your health when you’re away from home. If an insured traveler becomes ill during their trip, they have access to travel assistance and telemedicine services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you don’t have to leave the vacation home to get help. care.

Another part of renting a vacation home that people don’t think about is the security deposit. Can insurance help there?

With more travelers working from their vacation home and booking longer stays, we recommend purchasing a vacation rental damage protection plan. This plan gives you coverage for accidental damage during your stay, including damage caused by children and pets if you stay in a pet-friendly rental, so you can feel at home and not have to worry about losing an important bond.

But there are some things travel insurance doesn’t cover. Can you talk about it?

Travel insurance can’t cover everything, and it can’t prevent the things it can cover from happening. Changing your mind, being afraid to travel, travel restrictions, and stay-at-home orders are all examples of things that most travel insurance plans don’t cover. And while travel insurance can’t prevent you from getting sick or having a winter storm cancel your flight, it can help cover some of the costs and headaches these situations can cause.

We are right in the middle of wave season, which is when most cruises are sold out. How has travel insurance evolved to protect cruise passengers?

Travel insurance is essential for cruising, and one of the most important ways to help travelers is to provide them with emergency medical coverage, emergency assistance, and transportation coverage. If a traveler becomes ill or injured and needs medical evacuation, having a travel insurance plan that can help them anywhere and anytime is essential. Integrating our 24/7 travel assistance services into our plans is one of the ways we’ve made travel insurance such a valuable asset to cruise passengers.

Travel insurance can also cover the cost of your cruise if you cannot board the ship for a covered reason. This is an important possibility to keep in mind when booking a cruise this wave season. If you get sick with Covid-19 and can’t take your cruise, travel insurance can reimburse what you’ve prepaid and even help cover the costs of isolation and returning home.

What things cruise insurance can’t do for you?

Like other types of travel insurance, cruise travel insurance can’t cover everything. If you decide you don’t want to cruise at the last minute or there’s another resurgence of a variant and you’re afraid to board the ship, most travel insurance plans won’t be able to. not cover these situations unless you have purchased “cancel for any reason” coverage.

I recently interviewed other travel insurance companies, and there is a lot of talk about personalization and the use of technology. What is Generali’s approach to a tailor-made insurance product? And how do you use technology to improve the customer service experience?

We want to offer our travelers a solution that offers the right coverage at the right price, which is why we are actively developing ways to better personalize and refine our plans. We currently offer solutions tailored to specific destinations, as well as different types of travel, such as cruises, flights, tours and vacation rentals.

The vision is to go further in customization and offer a truly dynamic product that allows travelers to choose from a menu of covers to create a plan that meets their individual needs. We’ve laid the groundwork to be able to do that and we’re really excited to see where we’re going in terms of customization.

To improve customer service, we recently created an online travel insurance wizard that asks you about the type of trip you are taking and the types of coverage you will need for that trip. With a few quick questions, the wizard recommends the plan that best suits you and your trip.

If you could give travelers one piece of advice for the next year, other than to remember to buy travel insurance, what would it be?

Book early and be safe. We’ve learned that you can’t predict the future, but after the past two years, we really expect 2022 to be a great year for travel, and we’re already seeing the effects of this pent-up demand.

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