Southern Cross Travel Insurance reveals domestic policy sales are at an all-time-high as lost luggage claims triple as a result of airport chaos
29 November 2022 by Laura Sedgwick
Today, Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) has revealed the true extent of the recent travel chaos on Australians and has unveiled the Aussie traveller summer hotspots as many ventured for their first northern hemisphere trip after two years of lockdowns.
Many Australians had been separated from family overseas for extended periods of time and chose the northern hemisphere summer to return to popular destinations such as the United States and United Kingdom.
The top destinations visited by Australians this winter were Indonesia (including Bali), United Kingdom, New Zealand, Italy and France.
Jo McCauley, CEO Southern Cross Travel Insurance, explains it’s no surprise that Europe was a popular destination this winter as Australians left the cold to enjoy the hot, European summer weather for the first time since the pandemic.
“Through examination of our sales data, we can see that Australians took extended holidays this year with an average increase of 25 per cent from 20 days holiday in 2019 to 25 days in 2022. It shows that Australian travellers were really keen to maximise this holiday opportunity by enjoying longer holidays than usual.”
Despite the return of international travel in 2022, SCTI reports that it hasn’t seen the sale of domestic policies slow down since the borders opened, which is something it was anticipating. In fact, its Domestic Australia policy sales are up over 500 per cent on last year (Jul-Sep).
“Typically, domestic travel insurance has always seen a slower uptake as people are more willing to take risks when travelling domestically,” says Jo McCauley.
“However, we’re experiencing unprecedented demand for our domestic travel policy, Domestic Australia, which we suspect is partly due to the effects of Covid-19 and an acknowledgement that there is a need to plan for the unexpected. Research we conducted in March this year, revealed that 65 per cent of Australians consider domestic travel insurance a high priority following Covid-19. We have seen demand stay consistent since the borders reopened, this could be due to the heavily publicised flight cancellations and increase in lost luggage.
“With fuel prices high and the cost of flights only rising, Australian know they could be hit with high costs if anything goes wrong. This could be why we’re seeing the appetite for travel insurance for domestic travel is at an all-time-high.”
When the international borders reopened at the end of last year, many were expecting travel to return to normal. But with staff shortages and reduced volumes of flights across airlines, Australian travellers have faced delays, disruption and lost luggage when travelling internationally.
The travel chaos experienced across Australia due to cancelled flights and staff shortages meant that SCTI saw a sharp increase in lost luggage claims. Lost luggage claims for the period 1 January – 30 September vs claims pre-pandemic more than tripled. During this period, they accounted for 5.3% of total claims paid, compared to 1.7% for the corresponding period in 2019 - the last ‘normal’ year of travel, pre-pandemic. The average amount paid for these claims in 2022 is $736.
If luggage has been lost, delayed or damaged, the first port of call should always be the baggage services counters at the airport. File a claim at the desk, where an attendant will issue a case reference number and collect contact information, so they can get in touch when it (hopefully) arrives.
Ask about the airline’s policy while filing the baggage claim and what you’re eligible to receive. Some will provide monetary compensation if luggage isn’t returned to you after 24 hours, others will provide essential items over the counter, others will offer a daily cash reimbursement and some airlines even offer a boost of frequent flyer miles for the trouble.
In a worst-case scenario where the airline is unable to help in retrieving lost bags, check if there is cover for baggage and personal items under the travel insurance policy. SCTI provides help to buy personal items of clothing and essentials if bags are delayed, misplaced or misdirected for 12 hours or more whilst you are on your overseas journey.
“We strongly advise customers to read their travel insurance policy thoroughly to understand what is and isn’t covered. However, if they need more information, we invite customers to reach out using our chatbot Scout in the first instance at www.scti.com.au, or to give us a call,” says Jo McCauley.