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Travel insurance witnesses growth

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 5 – The requirement of insurance in international travel has boosted the uptake of covers in the country, insurance industry players have said.

Heritage Insurance Managing Director John Milne said on Thursday that insurance companies were now recording an increase in the underwriting of travel insurance covers as most people move to comply with the global best practices requirement.

“People are travelling more and they recognise the need to have travel insurance as well as the compulsory aspect of you have to have it in order get a visa,” he explained.

Although he could not give the industry figures, saying it was not easy to know what competition was doing, Mr Milne said Heritage numbers have gone up by about 50 percent.

He added that this insurance segment has remained largely unaffected by the harsh economic conditions around the world as people have continued to travel for various reasons.

“We’ve seen a lot of corporates still sending people out for conferences, training particularly, which are why we have not seen a fall, if anything we have seen a growth,” he said.

Although slightly affected by the post poll events of 2007, he said the local industry was able to pick up almost immediately as people still had to travel.

“I can attribute this to the resilience of the Kenyan people. They realised there was a need to get back to business as soon as possible and I think the private sector had a lot to do with that,” he reckoned.

The segment is also expected to receive a shot in the arm with the upcoming December and New Year’s holidays.

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Mr Milne spoke to Capital Business after the launch of the company’s product where travellers can apply for a 24-hour emergency and medical assistance cover dubbed ‘The Heritage Traveller” from the internet.

“It’s an overseas medical cover but we package it to include other benefits such as baggage loss, personal liability and flight delay,” explained Head of Traveller Insurance Business Jennifer Kamotho of the cover that is available to individuals, families, groups and frequent travellers.

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