I had the opportunity to sit down with Bob Chambers VP of Operations at CSA Travel Protection, as the insurance company is now rebranding to Generali Global Assistance.
As a local company in my homeport of San Diego, CSA has been my family's go-to travel insurance provider for over a decade. Finally making contact with one of its executives was an insightful treat.
At the time my dad and I both went in for the interview, we had, in fact, recently seen the headquarters of CSA's parent company Generali in Triste, Italy. We spotted the building during a tour of MSC Cruises' new MSC Seaside at the nearby Fincantieri shipyard.
When Chambers started with CSA in 1992, the company was then only six months old and 20 employees strong. He worked there until 2000 before again returning in 2008. He has worked in travel insurance for 17 years and seen a lot of changes over that time, the biggest of which he believes is more consumer awareness.
"We still have a long way to go I think," said Chambers, "especially when you look at some of the other markets around the world like UK, Canada and Australia. The awareness for travel insurance [there] is just much greater."
(He considers those countries' socialized medicine as the reason why their citizens are more mindful of insurance and coverage needs when they travel abroad.)
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Alternatively, the primary reason why US travelers buy insurance from CSA is for trip cancellation protection; Cruise insurance purchases are up about 25 percent.
CSA has around 2,000 partners, and two of its largest are highly cruise-focused. Vacation rentals is another large market for the company.
I was particularly curious as to how CSA differentiates itself in such a competitive landscape.
"One of the things we really strive for is service, " Chambers said. "The thing [with] service is everybody says they have good service, but I think what I hear-and I've been out to visit some of our bigger partners, and I've actually heard them say-one of the reasons we stay with CSA is because of the service that you provide not only for their employees, the agents, but also for the end consumers."
Trip cancellation is next-biggest claim related to cruises. (For the record, very few claims have anything to do with norovirus, and more are associated with injuries like falling down the stairs or slipping at the pool, for instance.)
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Now, of course, the company is rebranding to parent name Generali Global Assistance. This will allow the CSA to better leverage the international scope and resource base of the global corporation. In addition to existing services, insurance plans will soon also expand.
"This is another exciting step our company has taken to bring our global solutions and talents directly to our clients," added Chris Carnicelli, CEO, Generali Global Assistance North America, in a press release. "In the U.S. travel insurance space, our partnership capabilities and service to customers is unrivaled - now having the global scale and resources of one of the 50 largest companies in the world puts us even further ahead in the quest to provide cutting-edge solutions to our business partners and end-clients."
"Our travel insurance and emergency assistance services unit has long been recognized for our uncompromising commitment to our customer's peace of mind. We are committed to growing our leadership position in the travel insurance industry, and as such, we are continually improving the value we bring to our customers. Backed by the global resources and strength of Generali Group, we are in an even better position to enhance our value proposition."
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