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Smart Travellers Save By Buying Insurance Direct

9 September 2005
News release

Smart Travellers Save By Buying Insurance Direct

As airline taxes, fuel surcharges and other levies pump up the total price paid for “low cost” fares, canny travellers are increasingly side-stepping more additional costs by buying travel insurance direct to save money and avoid commission.

Southern Cross Travel Insurance, which provides comprehensive leisure travel insurance policies, says policy purchases through their website have shown a marked increase this year as travellers take advantage of the 10% discount for buying online, as well as avoiding commissions by purchasing direct - in total very significant savings.

Southern Cross Healthcare Group Chief Executive, Dr Ian McPherson says the competitive attitude for travel is in line with the Group’s commitment as a not-for-profit organisation to keep quality healthcare affordable for all New Zealanders.

“We look after people at home and when they travel, we want to ensure they can still access the same high levels of care.”

Southern Cross Travel Insurance Chief Operating Officer, Craig Morrison, says only seven per cent of travellers purchasing Southern Cross’ TravelCare policy did so through the internet last year and now that figure has exceeded 40%.

“The buy direct trend is in line with the increasing popularity of the internet as a means of booking travel and accommodation,” he says.

“More and more travellers are becoming do-it-yourself travel agents and are looking for the same convenience when it comes to buying travel insurance. If you can book, confirm and pay for travel in a few minutes on-line, you certainly don’t want to spend time in an office somewhere sorting out your travel insurance requirements and then paying commission on top of the premium for the policy.”

Mr Morrison says New Zealand travellers are conscious of the need for comprehensive travel insurance and approximately 80% buy insurance before going overseas.

“It is common sense really to spend a few minutes purchasing a policy that ensures you have some protection if anything goes wrong, such as losing all your luggage, flight cancellations, missed connections, or in the worst case, a medical problem that results in hospitalisation.

From the claims we receive, it’s clear that things can and do go wrong and people are grateful that help is available, including a 24-hour emergency service. Why risk financial ruin? If you can afford to travel, you can afford to buy travel insurance”

He says buying direct is quick, convenient and can be done at any time of day and it’s a trend which is expected to increase in line with forecasts for more international travel by New Zealanders.

The Tourism Research Council has projected short-term departures will reach 1.87m in 2010, a gross increase of 36.4%, or 499,438 departures over its seven-year forecasting period of 2003-2010. This represents an average annual growth rate of 4.5% per annum.

Short-term departures are expected to reach 1.6 million this year.


About Southern Cross Healthcare

Southern Cross Healthcare is comprised of two organisations that focus on the health sector in New Zealand:

One organisation, the first created, is the Southern Cross Medical Care Society with over 800,000 members. It is a not for profit Friendly Society that focuses on delivering health insurance services for both individual members and group schemes.

The other organisation is the Southern Cross Health Trust. It consists of the Southern Cross Hospitals - New Zealand’s only private hospital network, and Southern Cross Travel Insurance.

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