Monthly Archives: March 2009

Ethical Travel Insurance

There has been a recent boom in ‘Ethical’ products following on from the success of ‘Fair Trade’ and ‘Organic’ but is this all marketing hype designed to boost a company’s profits? There is no doubt that the use of any of these labels opens up a totally justified debate on whether they are sufficiently defined to give the general public the assurances they need. Take ‘Fair Trade’ which has now established itself as a recognised standard but what transparency does the consumer have on whether the price they pay have any bearing on the fairness claims that are made and is the premium that they are prepared to pay for such products, on prices set by the end seller, have more to do with what the market will bear than on making any real difference to the third world producer?

The selling of ethical travel insurance and financial products falls into the same category. A simple claim that a percentage of profits are channelled into good causes is all well and good but the discerning customer should look beyond these headline grabbing claims and ask serious questions. Take Travel Insurance – there are literally hundreds of companies, many well known, that jump onto the bandwagon simply to try and grab a share of this growing market. This is tantamount to using strong arm tactics to drown out the voices of those genuine companies and charities that are offering ethical travel insurance with a difference. Only by looking at the whole picture can you appreciate what makes these new up and coming ethically driven companies a much more attractive option for those who do care about where they put their money. Whether it is directed at helping those in need, say in the developing world or aimed at ecological issues, such as climate change, how companies in the financial sector face up to the growing demand for Corporate Social Responsibility will be the benchmark requirement on which they will be judged in the future.

In financial services broadly, and travel insurance in particular, with its ethically viable and socially sustainable product, is among a core of companies who have realised that this is central to how their business operates, and are truly making a difference.

Britons choose cost over environment

The surprise report this week is that the vast majority of British people do not care enough about the environment to make it their top priority when booking a holiday. Higher up the list comes cost. According to the independent research organisation, YouGov, just one in 100 people said their carbon footprint was the most important factor when buying a trip and for 13% of travellers, the environmental impact of a holiday was the least important consideration.

Well, is it really that surprising? Whilst most of us are well intentioned, not many would put these considerations at the top of their list. Price is a much more dominant factor and, although many people do not mind paying a little bit more for a good cause, they do ask questions or vote with their feet, that is, walk away, if what they are paying for does not represent good value for money. Nowhere is this more evident than shopping on the internet, and this includes, more and more, the booking of flights and holidays, where the main driver is to get the best deal, first and foremost.

The hidden benefits of carbon offsetting, fair trade, organic, helping the third world etc, will often be overlooked if the price is not, at least in the right ball park. If the price is right, then the feel good factor of buying what you are looking for and protecting the environment or helping people in need will certainly kick in and why not as, after all, we all like to do our bit. That’s why tries to provide what our customers want, a competitively priced travel insurance policy that also makes a difference.