Insurers have responded to the increasing popularity of winter sports with a range of tailored policies. At the same time, extensive media coverage and the growing diversity of snow sports (some of them extreme) have raised awareness of the need for specific winter sports insurance. But, as ABTA reported last year, there is still a significant number of people who don’t check their cover at all before setting out for the slopes – especially the over 55’s.
The extended European ski season this year, driven by excellent ski conditions and an early Easter, no doubt contributed to this year’s increased uptake of winter sports policies.
How has policy design and cover evolved for these policies in recent years?
Winter sports policies have generally always covered essentials such as cancellation, delay, theft, loss and damage to skiing equipment, together with personal accident and personal liability. Other much utilised cover relates to piste closures and illness or injury that prevents skiing. Policies usually insure a range of activities beyond skiing too, such as snowboarding and sledging - but not extreme sports, such as heli-skiing, for which specialist insurance is needed. Insurers now cover a wider range of snow sports than ever, to meet customers’ changing needs.
How would you say that the assistance industry has evolved in terms of meeting customer needs in this area?
Assistance companies need to be aware of the complexity of winter sports claims. They must ensure that patients receive appropriate treatment abroad and that they are returned home for ongoing care when it is in their best interests.
Here at CEGA, we have recently introduced annual winter sports claims refresher training to enable our teams to meet customers’ individual needs. The programme ensures that our assistance, claims and recoveries teams are familiar with everything from the location of popular winter sports resorts and network medical facilities, to the nature of different sports injuries, the cover available from specific winter sports policies and the most appropriate ways of repatriating customers. We also ensure that our staff ‘get into the customer’s world’ via training sessions in which they complete a 'customer journey' on crutches through an airport. In addition, our medical staff receive refresher training on an aircraft, which orientates them in a true-to-life setting.
For more information about winter sports insurance and safety, see https://www.cegagroup.com/Winter-Sport-Survival-Guide.pdf