Seven Corners, a global travel insurance company based in Carmel, is receiving four times the call volume it normally would as travelers scramble to figure out the novel coronavirus’ impact on their trips.
Jeremy Murchland, Seven Corners‘ president, said more than 90% of the calls coming into his company’s 24/7 call center are about COVID-19. Typically, Seven Corners might get 40 calls during the noon hour. This past week, Murchland said it has been closer to 150 calls . Weekly emails have also climbed from the hundreds to the thousands.
“Everybody is kind of in their own unique position on why they may need to, may not have to, should or should not travel,” Murchland said. “Because of the changes in the market and the uniqueness of the situation, if people have questions about travel insurance, don’t assume you know the answer. Insurance is always complicated, and in these times, it’s even more complicated.”
Murchland said his company has employees working overtime, with no cap on the extra hours they might work. Seven Corners has even cross-trained its employees to start helping on the phones. The company has implemented new voicemail options, new queue options and put together a frequently asked questions page on its website about COVID-19.
During all the madness, Murchland said new hires are starting this week and the company is looking to hire more.
Customers are, understandably, torn about what to do. “We’ve got a lot of people that, afraid might not be the word, but they’re apprehensive right now,” Murchland said. “But canceling for fear is not a covered reason.”
Seven Corners does offer ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage, but travelers are only eligible to receive that sort of broad coverage within 15-20 days of putting down a deposit on their trip. Even if a traveler is within that window, paying a 40-50% premium on what’s already a 4-10% cost for standard travel insurance will only guarantee a 75% reimbursement on a canceled trip.
“Most customers have been very understanding,” Murchland said.
Whether insurance providers are understanding, though, may be a different case.
Restrictions are only getting tighter.
Last week, the Guardian reported travel insurers Aviva, InsureandGo, LV and the Post Office withdrew coverage for future coronavirus-related claims. Murchland said Seven Corners hasn’t made changes to its policies, yet, but conversations are happening daily.
“Most of what we’ve seen are tied-in to when this became a known event. Different insurance companies have slightly different dates for that,” Murchland said. “Insurance proves to be a very mathematically driven product. On the other side of this, six months down the road or a year down the road, it may take some time for insurers to realize their losses.”