work and travel

Interview with Anna Houben, published in part in the May issue of STM

As Insurance Experts for Educational Travel we were interviewed among others by the StudyTravel Magazine. We talked about post-pandemic developments, such as new insurance products, most popular plans, challenges we faced and areas of concerns for students. Many thanks to StudyTravel Magazine for this opportunity and for picking up this safety aspect for travelers!

Have you launched any new insurance products for international students or boosted student coverage at all in the last 12 months? Please tell us more and reasons behind development.

Since CareMed policies provide comprehensive benefits, our base has always been very reliable. During the pandemic, this was already proven, as COVID-19 was always covered by our policies. On the other hand, the world of travelers is constantly changing so the specifics of insurance plans are adapted to these changes as well as the needs of our clients. For example, we were able to increase the age range for certain products as our partners have older participants. Moreover, we improved the claims procedures and added a travel delay benefit to cover the risks of trip interruption while abroad.

Legal changes have also made us think about creative ways to adapt to new requirements. After the Brexit, for example, it was no longer possible for us to work with companies based in the UK. We fortunately found a solution to work again with British partners. To us it is important to be aware of new developments, react quickly to the requirements in respect to insurance and keep our clients well informed.

What is your most popular plan for international students currently?

Travel health insurance is the essential part of each insurance plan and therefore requested by all our partners. We also experience that there is an increasing interest in trip cancelation and travel interruption/delay benefits even after the pandemic.

What have been the main challenges for you as an insurance provider in the last 12 months? How are you tackling these challenges?

As CareMed works internationally, one challenge is to be well informed about developments in different parts of the world. In Europe, insurance regulations keep getting increasingly regulated which leads to changes for us as well as organizations that want to provide this additional service to their participants. Our goal is to fulfil our customers’ wishes and needs in the best possible way within the given legal framework.

If you are (or have) started attending agent conferences/workshops again what have/will you be keen to talk with agent partners about?

While attending the first conferences, it was great catching up on business trends but to be honest, it was more important to be in personal contact again and see how our partners have been doing during the last years.

Are there any priority areas you, as an insurance provider, will you be focussing on going forward? For example, mental health and wellbeing or junior group travel? Please explain.

Mental or behavioural health has become more and more present in recent years and continues to be on the rise. Certain additional services such as tele-medicine will therefore play a major role in facilitating rapid assistance. We always keep in mind our customers’ perspective to optimize processes like quick and easy enrollment, claim submission and other features that make their lives easier.

What are the main areas of concern for international students booking a study trip abroad in 2023?

Students are excited to travel again. With rising living costs and flight fares, going abroad will for most also include solid preparation. We think that tips from agents, organization and universities will be a huge plus for young travelers to benefit from their local experience abroad.

As always, some are very carefree and others still need more reassurance what to do in case they need support. It is great that young people think of these topics before they leave and we are always happy to help. While risks and uncertainties have always been there, with the current political and ecological events happening right now, people have pictures in their head and of course, families want to ensure that there will be help in case something happens.

Besides insurance related topics, some might also worry if they get their visa in time or if everything works out with the flights. Even though the pandemic is over, it is still in mind. 

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