Canadian travel insurer CAA Travel Insurance has upgraded its trip cancellation and interruption coverage, adding a new feature that will cover policyholders for bookings made via sharing economy lodging platforms such as AirBnB and Trip Advisor. It is one of the first Canadian companies of its kind to offer such coverage.
“We are delighted to be able to offer this new benefit to our insureds in Ontario,” said Catherine Bojda, Marketing Manager for travel insurance at CAA South Central Ontario. “We heard from members that they were looking for coverage beyond traditional hotel bookings and this policy update provides a meaningful coverage option that fulfills that need.”
While the benefit is currently only integrated into trip cancellation and interruption coverage, non-medical vacation packages and single and multi-trip vacation packages for Ontario policyholders, there are plans to roll it out into various other provinces shortly. It offers reimbursement for any non-refundable portion of a private accommodation service that has been fully prepaid, providing that it has been booked via an approved platform (HomeAway Family Companies is another included provider).
“Travel behaviours are shifting quickly,” said Kellee Irwin, Vice-President of ORION Travel Insurance Company, which underwrites CAA Travel Insurance, “and we are seeing an increased reliance on shared accommodations when it comes to travel bookings. We are in buisness to protect as many people as possible and this was a gap that we saw needed to be filled to ensure that our insureds would be covered.”
The rapid rise in popularity of sharing economy platforms has been one of the most notable social and technological trends of the last few years, and it’s encouraging that after a short ‘wild west’ period in which adventurous customers weren’t as safe as they would have been had they booked via more traditional methods, industries like insurance are catching up and offering appropriate protection. The sharing economy is not going away, so for better or for worse, other businesses are going to have to adapt.