You have been with Chubb for over 13 years. What has changed in that time, good and bad, and how have you dealt with these changes?
Indeed, I joined Chubb (then ACE European Group) in 2009 after leaving another major insurance carrier. During my time here, I have moved through several different roles and also within our Accident & Health business, including account management, business development, and now my current role, which is leading our Travel team in Continental Europe, Middle East & North Africa (CEMENA). I have been very fortunate to have experienced a lot of different changes, challenges and opportunities. Most of them have been very positive and those which have been challenging are the ones that have really shaped me into who I am.
In terms of the most significant changes, I would say that would have to be the way we developed our Chubb Travel Insurance target market. This took us from developing in various segments as a product capacity provider, to becoming a key link within the distribution chain of our travel partners thanks to our IT capability and digital optimisation capability. This has meant that in the last few years we have moved our Travel Insurance portfolio from traditional and offline segments to now partnering mostly with digital distributors. This is because Chubb today plays an important role within the digital distribution environment, providing added value beyond the pure product underwriting capacity.
Chubb today plays an important role within the digital distribution environment
Travel insurance is going through a lot of changes due to Covid – are there any changes you welcome and that you hope stick around?
Of course – greater awareness around travel insurance is certainly the one which is most welcome. Customers are now much more educated in terms of understanding the importance of getting proper coverage when crossing borders and that is a direct result of the effects of the pandemic.
It also pushed us, within the Travel Insurance team at Chubb, to think outside the box from an underwriting risk perspective. Before Covid, covering a communicable disease within a pandemic would have been inconceivable. Not anymore. It opened our ‘underwriting mind’ to enhance our products, so they remain relevant to customers even if they get infected due to Covid and need to cancel a trip or are being quarantined or having medical treatment.
All the above transpires what I think will be the positive legacies of the pandemic: dynamism, agile thinking and developing the capacity to adapt. From my point of view, I think 2020 and 2021 were incredibly busy times for our teams not just because they were dealing with the impact of the pandemic but also because of their innovation. Travel activity was ‘frozen’, but we were very proactive in getting prepared for the #backtotravel so we could respond immediately ahead of our partners getting back to the skies. We wasted no time during lockdown securing new partnerships, creating new product features, new IT deliverables, and devoting more resources to maximise the value of our partnerships both for our partners and ourselves.
Changes and challenges incentivise us to jump in and make a stance. We don’t ever ‘sit and wait’.
What about some of the difficulties, how have you been overcoming challenges related to the pandemic?
The pandemic created an increasingly competitive environment which has impacted remuneration levels in some areas.
We strongly believe that the pillars of Chubb’s value proposition set us apart in terms of the programmes we offer. We don’t offer programmes which are simplistic, basic, or static. Those are the type of programmes which are sometimes heavily remunerated and have a negative impact on customer value and that’s not what we are about.
We work with our partners in their customers’ best interests by providing fair value through the product lifecycle and distribution chain. For this, we focus strongly on achieving the best outcome in terms of the overall cost to the end customer and the quality of the products and services offered.
What kind of claims stick out from the mass of claims you receive?
Travel insurance provides peace of mind which means we are always there when it matters.
Travel insurance provides peace of mind which means we are always there when it matters
Often, we are called upon to assist customers from our partners through some very challenging circumstances such as repatriation of individuals who have been seriously ill or who have tragically died while away from home.
Treatment of insureds is not only how travel insurance provides peace of mind to the individual but also their family. For example, we often help family members to accompany long-distance repatriations.
Medical assistance is something we are frequently called on to provide for travellers in Asia Pacific, particularly in Bali. We recently helped with the treatment of an insured who was in a coma and then repatriated them back to the United Kingdom.
Of course, the majority of our claims are for small matters – often lost luggage or personal items that have been misplaced or stolen, as well minor accidents or illness. And we’re always there to expedite such claims, dealing with them as quickly as possible to ensure the minimum amount of inconvenience for our customers.
At Chubb we see this as the real customer value – providing them with peace of mind and access to the very best care when they face difficult challenges while far from home.
What sets Chubb apart from other travel insurers?
We take a holistic approach to travel insurance partnerships, providing value beyond pure product underwriting capacity.
From a customer perspective, they will always be at the heart of our business and everything we do. Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded Property and Casualty (P&C) insurance company with operations in 54 countries and territories. We combine the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the very best insurance coverage and service for all our customers. We go above and beyond for our customers, and we pay our claims fairly and promptly. This is really important because we know how difficult things can be for people if they suffer a loss or are sick while away from home.
Have you adapted any new technologies recently? What role does technology play for your company?
Technology plays a critical role within Chubb Travel Insurance, particularly around our digital distribution capabilities.
As an example, we have developed bespoke APIs to enable telephone companies / mobile network operators, who are the new players of the travel insurance distribution industry, with Chubb’s Pay As you Roam.
And as previously referred, Artificial Intelligence based solutions and Machine Learning features being built right now at Chubb Travel Insurance, will deliver to our partners more dynamic results.
What’s your ideal travel destination?
Anywhere that guarantees some outdoors action. Whether big waves, if we aim for summer vacation (French West Coast or Portuguese surf spots like Alentejo, Peniche and Nazaré), or hilly spots within Spain (Pyrenees) when winter comes for cycling, skiing or snow trekking.
For short escapes for sport, eating or chilling with friends? We’re loyal to Denia (Alicante), Marbella (Costa del Sol), Salamanca (Castilla Leon) and Cercedilla (Madrid’s backcountry