And while only one in three people currently take out insurance, that is likely to rise to one in two over the next decade, according to the CEO of insurer InterMundial, Manuel López. This summer alone, he said, at the presentation of the company’s latest report, policy sales were up by more than 30 per cent, as travellers become ‘more demanding and are much better informed’.
The increase in policies taken out for the trio of ‘medium-to-high-risk’ countries –
Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia – was virtually repeated in Indonesia. An earthquake on the island of Lombok in August 2018 and a tsunami in Celebes the following month led to three-digit rises – as high as 233 per cent in the case of the former – in policy contracting this year.
Another fashionable destination among Spanish adventure seekers was Nepal, which saw a 124-per-cent rise over the previous year. The US remains the biggest market at 22 per cent for all policy buyers, mainly because of the high costs of medical treatment there, followed by Thailand and Japan, while within Europe, the main markets are for journeys to Italy, France, the UK and Germany, in that order.
The country where the biggest number of claims was made was the US at 10 per cent, followed by Mexico (seven per cent) and the Dominican Republic (five per cent). Repatriations and evacuations represented the biggest cost for insurers at 34 per cent, while simple medical assistance accounted for 30 per cent of payouts and more complex treatments 14 per cent.
The highest number of claims while on holiday involved serious illnesses (27 per cent), followed by health costs in general at 12 per cent. Next came delays in luggage, with 11 per cent, and damage to it at nine per cent.
Illness (47 per cent) and accidents (14 per cent) were the main causes of people cancelling their holidays beforehand, while children having to make up for bad exam results (11 per cent) and changes of job (eight per cent) were among the other leading reasons for reimbursements.