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Interview: AIG Travel Steps Outside of the “One-Size-Fits-All” Insurance Model

Interview by Angela Ogg, Contributing Editor for Travel Professional NEWS


Interviewing: Jeff Rutledge, CEO, AIG Travel



First and foremost, thank you for your time and insight! Travel Insurance can be a great protection to travelers, can you tell me a bit more about what initiated the break from the “one-size-fits-all” model that many Travel Insurance providers seem to follow?

The travel industry has had to adapt to changing customer demands, with millennials, in particular, seeking a more personalized travel experience. At AIG Travel, we recognized more could be done to help our partners meet the unique needs of their customers, which is why we worked tirelessly to pioneer this new approach to product development.


Our new model, underwritten by an affiliated AIG insurance company using policy forms that are currently approved by 31 states, allows agents to request individual benefits, such as trip cancelation or security evacuation, so that AIG Travel can create a package specifically tailored for their customers’ unique needs. Under “Trip Inconvenience,” a new benefit is now available that offers a set compensation amount if a traveler planned to attend a theme park, like Disneyland, and for reasons outside of their control, found it to be closed or shut down.


We are excited to be driving this much-needed change to the status quo by delivering best-in-class products to our clients. Unlike the traditional “bundled package” approach, travel agents and other distribution partners can now request a truly customized travel insurance package.


Travelers and Travel Professionals have a lot of options when it comes to Travel Insurance, can you provide some insight into what sets AIG apart from the rest?

We are thrilled to be leading the charge when it comes to innovation in the travel insurance industry. Our new “a la carte” approach will help agents sell more travel insurance, attract new customers and generate additional revenue via new, niche products that no other organization has on the market. We can now offer a wide range of product choices, and our industry partners can request the products that are right for their individual customer base.


One of the new offerings provided exclusively by AIG Travel is the new NAME YOUR FAMILY℠ feature. Currently, if a family member becomes sick or injured, necessitating that a trip be canceled, the policy dictates who constitutes a family member. Our new benefit allows travelers to choose up to five individuals as their “family,” which has universal value for all travelers, but is likely to be of particular interest to those in the LGBT community or millennials traveling with friends.


What kind of education programs do you offer to help educate Travel Professionals on your offerings?

AIG Travel developed an exclusive Travel Guard® program, referred to as the “A-List” campaign. This is a B2B-focused program offering agent-only events, the chance to win monthly prizes for every travel insurance plan sold, and training opportunities to help agents serve their customers by sharing solutions and answers to common questions. The A-List campaign is designed to reward top performers, share best practices, highlight key product and service information and more. Each quarter offers different themes, and each month, mini-campaigns and events to educate, engage and inform agents. For example, as part of our commitment to providing valuable training opportunities to travel agents, AIG Travel hosted a “Live Sustainably. Travel Sustainably.” webinar in May this year, aimed at demonstrating the “business case” for learning how to book sustainable travel for clients.


What do you find to be one of the biggest challenges in convincing a consumer that they need Travel Insurance?

When it comes to selling travel insurance, consumer awareness is our greatest challenge. While most consumers would take out insurance for their house, car or mobile phone without much thought, travel insurance is often overlooked. In the U.S., particularly, there remains a relatively low adoption of travel insurance, and despite how unpredictable travel can be, convincing consumers of the benefits of travel insurance remains a challenge. Often travel insurance is viewed as an added cost that can make a vacation even more expensive, while in reality, it’s an investment that can pay for itself many times over if something unexpected happens.


How do you overcome their hesitation and get them set up with the right policy?

AIG Travel educates consumers and helps explain the importance of travel insurance through its agent partners. Whether traveling aboard or domestically, consumers need to understand the potential risks of traveling, and that travel insurance is the best way to cover themselves in the event of unforeseen circumstances that may occur, from lost baggage or trip cancelation to more serious medical emergencies or security issues.


We see you have added many additional policies to fit each individual needs?  Which ones are the most commonly used?

As new products and benefits have only just been added to AIG Travel’s offering, a thorough analysis will be done in the near future, once the benefits have been on the market for a longer period of time.


Can you provide us a bit more insight into your new Trip Cancellation regarding water levels? We know that insufficient water levels in Europe have proven to be an issue in the past years, how would this work if a traveler was affected by something of that like that?

For those travelers interested in river or ocean cruises, the new benefit can reimburse for the trip costs if a flood or drought affects the cruise’s destination(s). For example, if a ship can’t get through a passage because of high or low water, and the traveler was escorted by bus, this benefit can cover that interruption. From a cost perspective, if the particular leg of the journey affected was $500 out of a $5,000 trip, the insurance policy may cover that $500 cost.


Do you find that most travelers use the “al a-carte” selection method or choose one of your predesigned packages?

As the new approach is still being launched, further insight on how clients utilize them will be gathered and analyzed in the near future. AIG Travel will review any insights and learning’s that might improve our offering and service.


How does a Travel Professional get set up with AIG Travel? Can you share what kind of commissions they are able to earn when selling your products?

If a travel professional is interested in selling Travel Guard® products, they can learn more at or they can call us at 1.866.442.5703