Travel Insurance Underwriters
When shopping for travel insurance, you’ll see the term “underwriter” when reviewing a policy and may wonder “what is an ‘underwriter’ and what does it do?”
In this article, we’ll discuss the role of the underwriter, why they are a necessary part of travel insurance and which companies are currently considered to be the best in the business.
What Is an Underwriter?
All forms of insurance have underwriters – from home and auto to travel insurance. The role of the underwriter, which can be a person or a company, is to evaluate the risks associated with providing insurance coverage for benefits covered in the policy. For travel insurance, the underwriter looks at the risks to cover travel-related events, like trip cancellation, medical emergencies, lost luggage, etc.
Underwriters use actuarial and statistical data to determine the likelihood of a claim for events covered in the policy and what the potential cost of the claim would be. Factors in the data can include the number of claims broken down by traveler age, state of residence, trip cost, destination etc. Based on this analysis, the underwriter sets the premium rates for the insurance policy and decides whether to offer coverage to the traveler.
Reputable underwriters will have higher financial stability, as shown by their A.M. Best rating, and more importantly, may be more likely to approve claims.
If a claim is made, the underwriter will assess the validity of the claim and decide whether to pay the claim and how much to pay out.
In other words, the underwriter’s role is to evaluate and manage the risk associated with insuring travelers, and to ensure that the policy provides adequate coverage.
Travel Insurance Underwriters
Who are some of the key players currently in the travel insurance underwriting industry?
National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA
National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA is a global insurance company with over a century of experience. Founded in 1901, they offer a wide range of insurance products and services, including property and casualty, professional and cyber liability in addition to travel insurance. The company is a division of American International Group Inc. (AIG).
A.M. Best has given the rating of “A” (Excellent) to National Union Fire Insurance.
National Union Fire Insurance underwrites policies for AIG Travel Guard, which is owned by American International Group Inc.
BCS Insurance Company
The BCS Insurance Group consists of BCS Insurance Company (BCSI) and 4 Ever Life Insurance Company, along with parent company BCS Financial Corporation. They have more than 70 years of experience in multiple insurance lines including property and casualty insurance, employee benefits, professional liability, and commercial products in addition to travel insurance. BCS Financial is headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.
BCS Insurance Group offers insurance and reinsurance to Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans, their customers, and agents, and market specialized products for selected commercial insurance markets.
A.M. Best has given the rating of “A-” (Excellent) to BCS Insurance.
BCSI holds licenses in all 50 states and is an underwriter for Allianz Global Assistance.
Arch Insurance Company
Arch Insurance Company is a global provider of specialized risk solutions for clients across a wide range of industries, including travel insurance.
Arch Capital Group Ltd. (Arch Capital or ACGL), a Bermuda-based company, writes insurance, reinsurance and mortgage insurance worldwide with a focus on specialty lines. The company operates in North America, Europe, Bermuda, and Australia.
A.M. Best has given the rating of “A+” (Superior) to Arch Insurance.
Arch Insurance Company is the underwriter for and owner of RoamRight travel insurance.
Nationwide Insurance is a diversified insurance and financial services business located in Columbus, Ohio. Nationwide Insurance offers a comprehensive range of products and services, including insurance for cars, homes, businesses, farms, and life, as well as retirement plans, annuities, mutual funds, and various other specialty products such as pet, motorcycle, boat, and travel insurance.
A.M. Best has given the rating of “A+” (Superior) to Nationwide.
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company (BHSI)
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company (BHSI), is a commercial insurance provider that includes GEICO, Forest River RVs, Ben Bridge and Helzberg Jewelers, See’s Candies and Dairy Queen among others.
BHSI has grown steadily, expanding into new territories and product lines. With exceptional financial strength the company is able to remain flexible to changing conditions.
A.M. Best has given the rating of “A++” (Superior) to Berkshire Hathaway.
Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY
Based in New York, Generali U.S. Branch is the U.S. representative office of Assicurazioni Generali, S.p.A., an Italian multinational insurance company. Generali is in 50 countries and recently celebrated their 120th anniversary in 2021.
They specialize in various insurance industries such as Property & Casualty insurance, Life insurance, Art insurance as well as Accident & Health insurance.
The U.S. Branch is licensed as a domestic insurance/reinsurance company in all 50 states and territories for all major business lines. The company offers underwriting services for various business lines, including travel insurance.
A.M. Best has given the rating of “A” (Excellent) to Generali U.S. Branch.
The Generali U.S. Branch is an underwriter for Generali Global Assistance.
Starr Indemnity & Liability Company, New York, NY
Starr Insurance Companies have evolved from the first US-owned insurance agency in Shanghai in 1919 to a global insurance and investment leader with over a century of expertise.
They provide comprehensive commercial property and casualty insurance, accident and health insurance, and travel and accident coverage to businesses in 124 countries on 6 continents. Solutions are tailored to the needs of the international markets they work in.
A.M. Best has given the rating of “A” (Excellent) to Starr Indemnity & Liability Company.
Starr Indemnity & Liability Company underwrites for John Hancock Travel Insurance.
Crum & Forster
Crum & Forster specializes in providing a diverse range of insurance solutions for property and casualty, accident and health, and other specialty industries.
Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans are underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company, C&F and Crum & Forster are registered trademarks of United States Fire Insurance Company.
The insurance companies within Crum & Forster are United States Fire Insurance Company. The North River Insurance Company, Crum & Forster Insurance Company, Crum & Forster Indemnity Company, Crum & Foster Specialty Insurance Company, Seneca Insurance Company, Inc., Seneca Specialty Insurance Company, First Mercury Insurance Company and American Underwriters Insurance Company.
A.M. Best has given the rating of “A” (Excellent) to Crum & Forster including United States Fire Insurance Company.
Crum & Forster currently underwrites for travel insurance companies like CF Travel Insured International, which is a subsidiary of Crum & Forster, as well as Seven Corners and IMG under the United States Fire Insurance Company subsidiary label.
U.S. Specialty Insurance Company (USSIC)
U.S. Specialty Insurance Company (USSIC) is a subsidiary of Tokio Marine HCC, which is a leading specialty insurance group based in Houston, Texas.
A.M. Best has given the rating of “A++” (Superior) to U.S. Specialty Insurance.
USSIC underwrites for WorldTrips.
Zurich American Insurance Company
Zurich is a leading multi-line insurer serving people and businesses in more than 200 countries and territories. Founded 150 years ago, Zurich offers a wide range of products and services, including Property & Casualty insurance, Life and Critical Illness insurance, Investment and Retirement Plans, General Liability insurance, and various other specialty products.
A.M. Best has given the rating of “A+” (Superior) to Zurich American Insurance.
Zurich American underwrites for GoReady Insurance.
As we’ve seen, underwriters play a critical role in travel insurance – by evaluating and managing the risk associated with insuring travelers, and ensuring the policy provides adequate coverage for them. Therefore, knowing the stability and strength of the underwriter is important.
However, since most people don’t have significant expertise in evaluating an underwriter, how can a traveler determine the quality of a particular underwriter?
The easiest way is to evaluate the travel insurance company itself by reading reviews, checking with other travelers, and looking at their Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. If the travel insurer is reputable, it’s very likely that their underwriter is honest and reputable too. Well-known, reputable insurers work with well-known and reputable underwriters such as the ones we highlighted above.
This article has been written for review purposes only and does not suggest sponsorship or endorsement of AARDY by the trademark owner.
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