by Lisa Grimaldi | July 01, 2004
Robert L. SchultzA new travel insurance firm, Safe Travel Care, based in La Jolla, Calif., is targeting a market currently short on choices for coverage: incentive programs, along with corporate meetings and events. Policies tailored to this market will be unveiled this month.
     Why enter the fray at an inauspicious time for many insurers? Robert L. Schultz (right), Safe Travel Care’s CEO, feels he’s offering the right product at the right time. “After 9/11, business travel and incentive programs dried up; companies indicated they did not want to expose their people [to danger],” he said.
     But Schultz, who started out his professional life with the now-defunct E.F. MacDonald, one of the country’s first incentive firms, and then worked for Prudential, sensed firms wanted to reward their top performers with travel again, as long as they were properly insured against exposure to liability losses.
     “Even if a firm’s events and employees are covered by the corporate insurance policy,” said Schultz, “their guests are not,” nor are incentive program participants such as dealers, distributors and independent sales representatives.
     “No one else I know of is offering this kind of product for this niche,” Schultz added. (Insurance firms that offer incentive coverage, such as Rockville, Md.-based Novick Group Inc. and the U.K.-based Insurex Expo-sure, focus primarily on other type of events, association meetings and exhibitions, respectively, rather than incentives.)
     Safe Travel Care is targeting Fortune 500 firms with groups of 75-plus, as well as major incentive companies.
     Fees, Schultz said, typically will be 2 to 3 percent of the total cost of the event. Offerings include a basic program that includes medical care, emergency care and lost luggage, but for additional fees, firms can add on extra coverage for terrorism, acts of God, war, etc.
     “It’s about time something like this became available,” said Bruce Tepper, an incentive consultant based in Sonora, Calif., noting that most travel insurance firms are geared more toward travelers, rather than sponsoring companies.