How to build reassurance in travel with embedded protection

While COVID exposed gaps in various verticals, it brought to light the inadequacies of traditional travel insurance. At the start of the pandemic, most travelers found that the bundled “one-size-fits-all” policy they paid for didn’t cover pandemics, leaving many with denied reimbursement claims and a poor user experience.

Darcy Shapiro, Chief Operating Officer, Americas, presented at Phocuswright to discuss how Cover Genius harnesses real-time data from our network of partners including,, Icelandair, Skyscanner, Hopper, and more. 

Cover Genius was uniquely positioned to look at the data when the pandemic first started. We were able to collect this information from the large travel partners who have integrated our award winning XCover distribution platform. With the insights collected, we were able to help our partners pivot and come up with new products to protect their customers better. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, attach rates grew rapidly across our network of partners with their customers purchasing the hyper-relevant insurance we co-created due to increased awareness of the need to protect themselves. Darcy compares the increased purchasing behavior to September 11 and notes the insurance purchase trend decreased as time moved on after the incident. This leads to the examination of whether COVID-19 would be any different. 

Consumer demand for protection did decrease slightly but it has still sustained in certain hot spot markets. Most travelers were relying on their insurance company to provide coverage during this period but were not aware of the pandemic-related exclusions to their policy. New flexibilities with the travel industry meant that changing dates, canceling flights, or accommodation came directly from the travel retailers which made travel insurance less relevant to the customer. 

Our case study, Protection and the Pandemic, examines the sustained growth in attachment rates across our network of partners, demonstrating that travelers are opting to add protection at a rate 6x higher than at the start of the pandemic. This was achievable as we were able to pivot and create highly relevant products to quickly integrate with our partners like Icelandair and Skyscanner, and offer embedded protection to customers to provide them peace of mind to make bookings at the most key point of the booking path.

Research conducted by across 20 countries to understand travel insurance purchasing behavior showed 61% of travelers would prefer to get insurance directly from the website used to book the trip due to convenience. While archaic insurance companies deliver a post-claim NPS of -25, Cover Genius is backed by a seamless claims experience featuring instant payments to deliver a post-claim NPS of +65, ensuring happy and loyal customers. 

Key Highlights

1:10 Intro to Presentation: How to build reassurance in travel with embedded protection 

1:20 Who is Cover Genius? 

4:16 What is the Insurtech difference?

6:00 Darcy’s Thesis 

7:02 Case study #1: How did the world respond to the pandemic?

11:11 Case study #2: The challenges that our distribution partners [travel retail partners] faced because of the inadequacies of traditional insurers 

12:18 Customer pain points 

16:00 Skyscanner Demonstration Video

18:22 Case study #3: Is the customer’s response to the pandemic a trend or the new normal? 

21:04 Travel survey 

23:39 Lessons for Future 

26:15 Q&A: How Cover Genius differs from other offerings that are out there? 

29:20 Q&A: You’re a global company – where did you see the strongest similarities within your target groups?