Australian and NZ firms recognised at ITIJ awards
31 October 2022
The International Travel & Health Insurance Journal (ITIJ) has named NZ-based Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) as its International Travel and Health Insurance company of the year at this year’s awards ceremony in Athens, Greece.
The insurer beat finalists Allianz and Global Benefits Group, and was lauded for its customer response during the covid pandemic and commitment to diversity.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our team at Southern Cross Travel Insurance in being recognised amongst some very prestigious global brands,” SCTI CEO Jo McCauley said.
“I feel so privileged to work with a team of the best in the business who have customers at the heart of every decision they make.”
The insurer reflected on the impact of the pandemic, saying that as early as January 2020, customers grew increasingly nervous as global repercussions of travel restrictions began to take effect.
It says by April 2020, the volume of customers contacting the firm had tripled from the same time in previous years as it extended the hours of its contact centre to accommodate the influx of calls.
SCTI says it was the first travel insurer to offer refunds for single-trip TravelCare customers between April and July 2022, with millions of dollars being returned for refunded tickets.
It also noted that it provided extensions to policyholders’ who had recently purchased annual policies and waived usual cancellation fees.
“What the business confirmed during this experience is that responding to the immediate needs of our customers and acting with integrity and transparency at all times is critical to maintaining customer loyalty,” Ms McCauley said.
Zurich-backed World Travel Protection (WTP) – which is part of the Cover-More group – was awarded the International Assistance Company of the Year award.
WTP CEO Adrian Leach spoke earlier on the company’s nomination to the award, saying it was “incredibly rewarding and reflects the strong investment we’re making in our products and services, in line with ensuring our customers’ needs are at the very heart of our operation.”
Awarding judges said the risk manager held a “great recognition of the changing needs of current travel following the pandemic”.