Specialist Spanish travel insurer InterMundial has designed what it calls ‘a tailored guarantee’ policy to help protect travel agents and operators as they face up to the prospect of more and bigger claims under a new Spanish law. David Ing reports
The Ley de Viajes Combinados (Package Travel Law), as it is known in Spain, has been designed to offer greater protection to the travelling consumer in line with the norms set down by the European Union’s Package Travel Directive.
But InterMundial said the trade itself also needs protecting as it faces up to an increased level of responsibility demanded under the new legislation, especially in cases where the ‘agency or tour operator cannot face up to the costs involved’.
That is why the company says it has been the first on the market to introduce a tailored B2B trade policy that it calls Garantía Especial Agencias de Viajes (Special Travel Agents Guarantee).
Its aim is ‘to offer travel agencies specific solutions for each of the new responsibilities (on consumer protection) contemplated in the new travel directive’.
As well as covering cases of forcé majeure, such as a main supplier going bankrupt, the company has also promised to set up a crisis committee for the Spanish tourism sector, which will include representatives from its main bodies. In the case of an emergency situation in a destination, the committee would be brought together to offer a ‘round the clock aid service to the traveler to provide them with immediate support’.
InterMundial says work has already started on forming the new body through its own CEO, Manuel López, who is a member of the Tourism Commission at the Spanish Business Organizations Confederation and other leading trade bodies.
The policy covers seven specific points that are included in the new law, from not being able to make up the minimum number of travellers for a group booking to a guarantee to resolve incidents in less than two weeks.
The new Spanish package travel law was passed by Parliament at the end of December after the government was warned it had two months to adopt the new EU norms or face possible court action.