As you might imagine, things have been a bit different in the office of Select International these past ten months. When the ball dropped on January 1st, 2020, we prepared for the most significant travel year in our thirty-four-year history. By the middle of March, well, you know what was going on.
A complete global shutdown was something for which NO ONE had prepared. So, while the world was busy trying to figure out how to make masks, what to do if they got sick, and how to get grandma to turn her camera on during the family Zoom call, we were hard at work assisting more than 2500 travelers whose trips were postponed.
One thing that gave us peace amid the chaos was the belief that most of our travelers had travel protection plans that would shield them from financial losses. As the pandemic wore on and more and more trips were postponed, we started to see a significant slowdown in claims processing from the insurer with whom we have partnered.
By the Summer, we expected most of the claims, especially the Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) claims, would have been paid, but that was not the case. So, we questioned our representatives at the travel protection company. We were told that they were experiencing an unprecedented number of claims, lockdown restrictions, and work-from-home orders, which added to the claims process’s complexity.
We know that it takes many different people to process and pay a travel protection claim, and with nearly all of them working from home, it was reasonable to expect there was a learning curve. However, by the Fall, things were not getting any better.
Most large companies had returned to pre-COVID productivity while working remotely. Yet, some of our clients had claims that were still in process after more than five months! This is not the kind of service that we have built our business on, and it is not the type of service that we demand of our partners. As we dug into the issue, we found out that the situation was far more widespread than expected. While we are not the insurance company, we are one of their larger clients, so we pressed for answers.
Our team collected information from hundreds of our clients regarding their travel protection claims and called on our Travel Insured representatives to look into each one. We are happy to report that our efforts seem to be paying off.
“Today, we finally received a claim settlement and have a pending deposit for our CFAR Insurance. My husband and I wanted to thank you and the staff at Select International for your efforts in moving the settlement forward. Although it was not technically your responsibility to deal with the insurance company, your concern for a just resolution for your clients is to be commended. We appreciate all you did on our behalf and hope to travel with you in the future!” -Kristen
While we cannot guarantee that any travel insurer will pay every claim or that they will be processed expediently, we can promise that we will always do our best to care for you when you trust your travel plans to us.
We miss so many things about life before the pandemic, but none more than meeting so many faithful people on pilgrimage. Our day’s highlights are all the notes we get from pilgrims like you returning from trips, excited and awakened by the experience. We love to hear the stories of the joy you found in sacred places, and we love to look at your pictures from around the world.
It has been difficult to hear of all the struggles many of you have had to endure while working through the travel protection claims process. We could not stand that you have had to wait so long for answers. We could not wait around for you to receive the service that you deserve. Your care is our priority.
This week, it has been incredibly joyous to hear that our efforts to move the travel protection claims process along make a difference.
“…it is refreshing to see you folks not only take responsibility for the things you directly control but also seek to influence things you do not control but depend on to supplement your service. Obviously, insurance is not your responsibility, but after being aware they were not responsive to your customers, the fact you then advocated for your customers (you carry a bigger stick than individual customers) is admirable. Bottom line: It is refreshing to see you and your company care about the customer’s total travel experience and speak for them when needed.” -John
Thank you for choosing Select International Tours and Cruises, and thank you for these notes of encouragement and gratitude. Our staff reads every message, and they are indeed a blessing to us.
We are so excited to get you all on pilgrimage again soon. It looks like the Holy Land will be the first destination to open for pilgrims. You should probably start packing :). Seriously though, when you are ready to travel, we would love to have you on one of our trips. Call us anytime at 1-800-842-4842, and we will be happy to help you find the perfect pilgrimage trip for you.