Committed to taking care of agents and their customers
Allianz Global Assistance
(Photo above: Dan Keon, vice-president, market management, Allianz Global Assistance)
Photo courtesy ALLIANZ GLOBAL ASSISTANCE
One of the first things that travel agents need to know about Allianz Global Assistance is that the company is committed to taking care of its partners and their customers.
“There are two main things that travel agents need to know about Allianz Global Assistance,” observed Dan Keon, the company’s vice-president, market management. “The first is that our main priority is to take care of our partners and help them grow their business in every way we can. And secondly, it’s to take care of their customers.”
In a recent conversation with Canadian Travel Press, Keon pointed out that: “What some travel agents may not be aware of is that we have strong roots in Canada, and we’ve been working with agents in Canada for 30 years.”
However, Keon is quick to tell you that Allianz Global Assistance also has “an unparalleled global presence.”
“We work with 36 business units around the world to both share best practices, but also to engage with them when needed to support our customers when they are travelling abroad,” Keon said.
He explained: “Those business units can help us overcome cultural or language barriers in countries where otherwise it might be difficult to provide assistance.”
The other piece is that the company’s global reach gives it the ability to respond swiftly to major crises.
“With the Nepal earthquake in 2015,” Keon noted, “We had people on the ground and response centres around the world coordinating, and we were able to lift 55 of our customers out of Nepal.”
“More recently with the Vegas shootings,” he said, “We had seven of our customers down there that were affected, and within hours, we had our air ambulance partners meeting them in hospitals and arranging to bring them home. So that global reach really makes a critical difference, especially with the travel insurance and assistance component.”
All about support
Working with agencies of all sizes, Allianz Global Assistance provides them with a wide range of training and support.
“We have a national team of business development managers and those BDMs will provide in-house training and live WebEx training, as well,” he said, before continuing: “Last year, we launched a really cool program called EASY. This is an online, self-directed training program, and it’s set up to be a progressive training program, so agents are able to build their knowledge in different areas as they move through it.”
Keon told CTP that: “What’s neat about [EASY] is that it doesn’t just focus on product – which a lot of training typically does – it’s all about the policy wording. This is about helping agents understand the value of travel insurance and how to convey that to their customers. And it’s done in a multimedia format and it’s really engaging and entertaining, and we’ve had really great feedback on it from our partners so far.”
He also pointed out that what’s different about EASY is the format that it is presented in – there are a lot of interactive components.
“Training can sometimes be a little bit dry, but this makes it a little more entertaining and interesting for the agents and easier for them to get their credits as well,” Keon observed.
What’s on the shelf?
Ask Keon about Allianz Global Assistance products and he’ll tell you: “We have a really comprehensive product offering, as far as range of products, and that makes it much easier for our partners to find the right product to fit the customer they’re helping.”
He noted that: “Some of the most popular features would be the Cancel For Any Reason component within our Cancellation products; we have a medical product that does not require a medical questionnaire for customers under age 74 travelling less than 60 days, so again that takes a major step out of the process for partners, making it easier to sell; as well as products for visitors to Canada and a whole other slew of offerings that make it much easier whenever you have a customer in front of you to get them the product they need.”
In terms of services, Keon explained that “in addition to the Business Development Managers who are supporting our partners, we have a team we call Agency Services, which is a dedicated call centre team, that supports our travel agents with any questions they have around product, point of sale system, selling process. “Anything they have any questions or concerns about [Agency Services] is available to support them and that’s something that’s really taken advantage of by our partners, for sure.”
It also adds that personal touch, with Keon telling CTP: “A lot of the agents that are on the Agency Services team have been there for a number of years, so they get to know the travel agents personally; they recognize each others voices; they can get caught up on things – so they develop their own relationships with the travel agents, which is nice.”
Which brings up the obvious question – Why should agents sell Allianz Global Assistance’s product?
“Well, you know, just strictly from the product side, the offering itself is very competitive, as far as the level of benefits and the level of coverage offered. We also have very competitive commission and compensation model. But in addition to that, what we like to say is that it goes beyond commission, it’s about how do we help you grow your overall revenue because that’s what matters at the end of the day,” Keon said.
And he continued: “It’s that full service between the expertise of the sales team, of the business development managers, the scope of the training available, the support of Agency Services and everything we do to leverage our expertise that we’ve gained across all distribution channels of travel insurance.”
He pointed out that: “We work in all channels beyond travel agents, and we leverage that expertise and then help our partners take advantage of that. Beyond that, the major differentiator for us, again, is that global reach and the power of the Allianz brand worldwide.”
Said Keon: “It really makes a difference for us to be able to take action at a local level around the world, and our partners and their customers gain a lot of confidence and comfort knowing that they’re back by [the Allianz] brand.”
What’s in it for the customer?
As for why consumers should buy the company’s products, Keon will tell you: “Well, I think for the same reasons. Customers are often focused on travel insurance, as far as ‘how much am I covered for’ and ‘what are the benefits,’ but they aren’t necessarily aware of all of the support that comes with it when they need it.”
He explained: “Today, there are eight million Canadians who have access to our travel assistance services, and we really put a high priority – the highest of priorities – on making sure we’re there for our customers when they need it most.”
Keon noted that: “We have a very experienced in-house medical team, including a chief medical officer, a number of doctors, 24 nurses; and they are involved in any case where it’s anything beyond a simple out-patient visit. So, they’re monitoring the care, making sure you get home safely, and they also leverage a network that we’ve developed where our own Allianz doctors have visited hospitals around the world to assess the levels of care and have built this database that our Canadian nurses can access.”
The result is that there are now over 1,700 hospitals in 137 countries in over 700 cities that are now part of that database and, said Keon, “There’s a big difference between that and a third party network you’re accessing where you don’t really know where you’re sending the person.”
What’s makes you different?
“Well,” said Keon, “I think one thing that sets us apart would be the fact that we are a fully dedicated travel insurance and assistance company. That’s essentially what we do. We provide those services in-house and what that means for our partners is that if they require support from a business development manager or there’s a question that the sales team can’t answer, that sales team has immediate access, whether it’s to the product team, claims side, IT side, underwriting – they’re all in-house – and they’re just a phone call away or a walk down the hallway to get the answers for our partners – that’s a key differentiator.”
But he adds that: “The other [reason] would be, the strength of the Allianz Global Assistance brand globally. It’s one of the top, if not the top, insurance brands in the world. Our providers, the medical providers around the world, recognize the [Allianz] name when patients need treatment and that’s where the brand recognition really matters most, is worldwide when it comes to travel insurance.”
Is there more?
“The only thing I would add is we mentioned a number of things we do to help our partners grow their business and to understand insurance,” Keon told CTP. “One of the other things we do is that we also provide marketing support to our partners. We will provide them with display campaigns, advertising campaigns they can use on their web site and social media to promote the value of travel insurance, and also we do product-specific campaigns throughout the year, depending on the season. So, our partners really like to take advantage of that because it is extra promotion of a key revenue generating stream for them.”
For more, go to www.allianz-assistance.ca .
Making it EASY
EASY was launched in early 2017, and since then, 200 travel agents have completed the program on the company’s Allianz Academy platform.
EASY is an acronym that stands for:
Entry – Ease Into It – introductory courses
Advanced – Acquire Understanding – product courses
Specialized – Sales Skill Set – sales orientated courses
You – You’re On Your Way – additional courses/supplemental knowledge
Go to allianzacademy.travelinsurance.ca – the site requires a login, and this URL will take agents to the sign-on page.
So check it out, it’s EASY.
Get wise, get Tripwise
Allianz Global Assistance developed its TripWise app to help people manage the many details of an emergency when travelling. It’s compatible with both iOS and Android.
And here’s a few things that you might want to know about it:
The TripWise app provides useful tools that include flight status updates and local hospital searches with a GPS locator.
Travellers can access a database to find the closest Allianz-reviewed local healthcare provider with the phone number, address and website.
The database includes 2,000 hospitals in 129 countries.
The app allows users to find international names for common prescription medications and store a photo of their prescription label for easy
reference while travelling. The medical dictionary also translates popular first aid terms in more than 15 languages.
TripWise provides access to updated security information from the Canadian government and local emergency services numbers (911)
for more than 195 destinations worldwide – from Afghanistan (119) to Zimbabwe (999).
The TripWise app is free to download and use and can be accessed by visiting www.allianz-assistance.ca/en/help-for-customers/tripwise-mobile-app/ .
It can also be downloaded free from the App Store – https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/tripwise/id875796186?mt=8 – and Google Play – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.aga.travelaid.ca .