Why are Travel Insurance Claims Taking So Long to Process?

by Steve Dasseos on July 14, 2022

Why are Travel Insurance Claims Taking So Long to Process?

Note: I originally wrote this on July 18, 2020. I updated it today with some more information.

This is a typical phone call or email we have been getting for the last twenty nine (29) months:

It’s now been 4 (or 5, 6, 7…) months since I submitted my claim for my trip. I understand they are busy, but this seems like they found an excuse to put my claim at the bottom of their pile. Is there anything you can do to get that moving? I’m happy to provide documents but I think they should tell me why they need it. I also think they should be able to tell me everything they think is missing all at once. Nothing about this process is giving me confidence that any company will respond well should problems arise on either of the other vacations I have insured with any company. Also, when I call them, I leave my number for a callback, but no one ever calls me back.

I am very thankful that the vast majority of people who call or email us are kind and very pleasant to work with. And, I completely understand their frustrations. We make it a point to tell our customers that a claim will take at least six months.

While I cannot know what is the exact reason that claims are taking so long to process, I do know that all the Travel Insurance companies’ Claim Departments are overwhelmed with the volume of claims that started coming in the beginning of February 2020. In addition, many claims require supporting medical documentation so the backlog in medical record transfers is part of the problem.

Unlike other widespread events like hurricanes or bad winter storms, the volume of new claims has not dropped off after the initial event. In a normal event, the majority of claims come in over a two – four week period.

What’s different about this Covid mess is that the initial claim submissions were not spread out, but there was a surge in March 2022 that continued as trips kept getting postponed or cancelled. And, in normal times, if an insurance company needed documentation from a travel supplier or a doctor’s office, there was a very short turnaround time. Now, it’s longer, partly due to people working remotely or companies being understaffed, first due to layoffs, then due to labor shortages.

Another problem is that travel suppliers are taking months to furnish cancellation invoices and other documents so the traveler has to wait before they have all their paperwork to submit with their claim.

In early July 2020, one company told me they had over 9,000 unread emails in their Customer Service email queue. And, because they had a hiring freeze or laid people off, now they (and other companies) are understaffed, so the backlog aren’t clearing quickly. I wish the companies would stop over-promising faster turnarounds because they are under-performing and needlessly getting people angry.

Finally!! I got paid after waiting three months. Steve, thank you again for your help with this claim. Lisa M., Austin, TX

We are continuing to help our customers with their claims. I have worked very hard to have a good relationship with each of our companies. There are many reasons for this, but I think the main reason is that we have never lied, mis-represented the truth nor have ever tried to deceive our companies in any way. When we made a mistake, we always own up to it. We record our phone calls so we can send the call to our companies to document our mistakes.

I hope this makes sense. If you want the right travel insurance advice, call us at 1-888-407-3854 and we'll help you figure it all out.

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