The pandemic has made it necessary to pre-plan a lot more before a business trip, even more so for planners of corporate meetings, training workshops, incentive groups or conferences. A proper risk management plan prioritises the right insurance coverage. Besides travel insurance, Covid-related insurance is also included to account for the many evolving factors at play.
UOB Travel Planners, which manages corporate travellers, underwrites their insurance policies with an insurance partner to provide comprehensive coverage. There are different tiers of coverage to meet corporate needs. Emergency evacuation is one of them, which is a top priority in pandemic times.
“We have been anticipating all these changes with the onset of Covid, and we have really focused on providing the proper coverage. We've also been working with medical facilities locally and overseas to make sure that we can help our customers with end-to-end testing requirements. This was very essential during the last two years in managing the needs of our clients,” said Steven Ler, Executive Director of UOB Travel Planners.
Ler also shared that UOB Travel Planners works with security agencies such as International SOS to ensure its clients are protected from any possible emergency. This includes the use of an app installed with a panic button that will activate an emergency team to provide on-the-ground assistance.
“It is important to provide holistic end-to-end travel support, ranging from insurance coverage to visa and testing requirements, and that's something we are very focused on. Giving customers a sense of assurance and comfort that things will be taken care underscores everything we do,” said Ler.
Echoing his sentiment is Goh Shun Quan, Head of Underwriting, Retail & SME at QBE Singapore, “Corporate clients require fast turnaround and ease of insurance administration either done by themselves, or their intermediary of choice.
"What this means is that insurers need to find a way to facilitate immediate issuance of policy and claims management which operates 24/7 (such as a digital platform) so customers can access and manage their own policy and insurance needs easily.”
Goh added that businesses are more concerned with Covid-related emergencies and expenses that may arise from hospitals, quarantine and medical/evacuation costs, and repatriation. “While travel cancellation costs remain a concern, they have become less important as hotels and travel operators increasingly offer flexible cancellation policies for travel bookings,” he noted.
Ler reported a strong 40% to 50% increase month over month in corporate travel bookings and said that it remains vital for UOB Travel Planners to take care of clients’ constantly changing requirements. This is important as its clients are going to long-haul destinations such as the US, the UK and other parts of Europe.
For these corporate travellers from the healthcare, finance, insurance and manufacturing sectors, proper risk management will be a key deciding factor for their continued travels.