Insurance Commissioner Orders Company to Stop Unlawfully
Selling Travel Insurance
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler ordered
one of the nation's largest sellers of travel insurance and its
insurance carrier to immediately stop selling their products in
Named in "cease-and-desist" orders were Travel Guard Group, Inc., of
Wisconsin, and the Philadelphia, PA-based, Insurance Company of North
The travel insurance market has increased significantly since last
September's terrorism attacks, and Kreidler said that his office is
concerned whether or not Washington residents are getting everything
that they believe they're paying for.
"Travel Guard is marketing and profiting from the reasonable concerns
of travelers post 9/11," Kreidler said. "And Washington residents who
purchase this type of insurance are entitled to enjoy not only the
peace of mind that it provides, but also the protection that it
"In fact," he added, "some of Travel Guard's past promotional
materials implied that this insurance includes terrorism coverage
when, in truth, it seems that much of it does not."
The action concludes a three-month investigation into a complaint that
Travel Guard failed to refund premium payments after a Des Moines, WA
woman contacted the Consumer Protection Division of the Insurance
Kreidler's action is based on the determination that Travel Guard is
not an authorized insurance company in this state. The insurance
policies and rates it offered for sale were not approved by the
Insurance Commissioner's Office as required by state law. Travel Guard
as an insurance agent has sold a variety of unapproved travel
insurance products since 1997. Last year, Travel Guard sold 120,000
travel insurance policies to Washington residents.
Specifically, Kreidler ordered Travel Guard to cease and desist
representing itself as an insurer or insurance company to Washington
residents. In addition, the order prohibits Travel Guard from
soliciting Washington residents to purchase its unapproved insurance
INA, which holds the license to sell insurance in Washington, was
ordered to stop soliciting Washington residents to buy insurance
coverage which hasn't been approved by the Insurance Commissioner's
"I want to reassure the thousands of people in Washington who have
purchased these policies that our action today does not relieve either
company of the responsibility of processing and paying claims or
otherwise fulfilling the contractual commitments to anyone who bought
this insurance prior to today," Kreidler said.
I live in Washington State. I agree with this decision. I think a lot of travel insurance is less than what people think they are buying.
For instance if my partner and room-mate, David and I buy travel insurance and one of us gets sick before a trip. The travel insurance does no good because the other person will be libel for the room charges anyway. It is of little or no value to us. Yet many unmarried couples buy such insurance thinking they are covered if one is unable, mor medical reasons, to travel. Significant others DO NOT count.
There are far toooo many loop holes in this kind of policy. If you see the ratio of dollars paid in to dollars paid out in claims, you realize that travel insurance is not a good value overall.
Besides, if you add up those $200 p.p. and $400 per couple policies over enough trips. The loss will be greater than the cancellation of one trip.
It's not the cancellation part that is the big worry ... it's medevac which can cost $20K or more. That's the thing to insure against.
As a staunch defender of individiual lifestyle rights, I think it's just plain wrong that a pair of people sharing the same cabin (never mind the same house) can't be covered under the same policy. I suppose if I were traveling with my daughter (who lives in Atlanta, not here) that we would need separate policies?
This begs a question I don't know the answer to. Maybe you do. (Short rewind) the only place my "married" name appears is on my passport. If in a foreign country and one of us falls ill, the passports are the best proof we have that we are, indeed, married and one of us could order medical care for the other.
What happens in a medical emergency if the person you're traveling with is NOT your spouse? Sometimes I travel with a friend if Queeg happens to be occupied. Is this something you've ever considered or checked out?
I think a lot of people would like to know the answer to this one.
Chuck, different insurers have different criteria; I'm cruising solo in December and recently shopped for insurance that covered me in the event of the illness of my domestic partner. TravelGuard specifically told me that they define "spouse" as someone to whom you are legally married, but I found that both CSA and Travelex state that they honor claims regarding a third party provided you have cohabited with that person for at least twelve months, regardless of that person's gender.
While I wasn’t specifically asking for information regarding two unmarried individuals traveling together, same cabin, same flights, etc., I believe the insurance can cover you both, but again before purchasing I would ask the insurer for specifics. I spent the best part of a day tracking down information from four different insurance companies, I only wish I'd typed up my notes and saved them for future reference!