The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has commended the members of the California Legislature for the passage of insurance deregulation bill AB 2354, which is intended to protect travel agents against punitive state legislation, and will allow them to sell travel insurance under special rules, providing that consumer protection procedures are followed. ASTA says that the bill, which is effective as of 1 January 2013, ‘significantly reduces [the] excessive burden on California travel agencies while offering greater transparency for consumers’. “Travel agents and travel insurance providers alike are all winners,” adds the organisation’s president and chair Nina Meyer. “Travel agencies will soon be free to go on with their day-to-day business without having to meet overly burdensome licensing requirements.”
According to the California Legislative Council’s digest, bill AB 2354 will ‘revise and recast the provisions related to travel insurance by, among other things, changing the definition of travel insurance to delete references to transportation ticket policies in disability insurance policies and include interruption or cancellation of a trip or event, loss of baggage or personal effects, damages to accommodations or rental vehicles, and sickness, accident, disability, or death occurring during travel’. The state’s insurance commissioner will now be able to follow the standards approved in 2010 by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
As it will take a while for the new procedures to be established – and as licenses will be required in states that have not adopted the new guidelines – ASTA is advising its members to consult with their insurance providers before they drop their current licenses.