USI on the Move:

Travel Insurance Services Staff Spotlight – Karen Johnson

  Karen Johnson_Machu Picchu 2Travel Insurance Services is more than a set of select travel insurance products. We take pride in having experienced world travelers working with us to guide our customers through choosing the perfect coverage options for them. We sat down with Karen Johnson, Head of the Travel Division at USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services, to hear about her experience in the travel and insurance industry as well as her passion for exploring the world in an exhilarating way.

 1. Tell us a little about yourself and your experience in the travel industry.

    I had the good fortune of getting involved in the travel insurance industry in 2000 as an underwriter for a managing general underwriter, later becoming Senior Underwriter and then Program/Project Manager. I then worked for an insurance carrier spearheading the startup of their Travel Division. Once that endeavor was complete I had the opportunity to come full circle and transitioned to the broker side of the business with USI Affinity.

 2. Where have you traveled?

    I have hiked, biked and camped in all but 9 states in the US and have traveled to many foreign countries seeking all types of adventurous activities. I have ventured to New Zealand, Australia, India, Costa Rica, Niagara, Peru, Belize, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, several provinces in Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Trinidad & Tobago.

Karen Johnson_Machu Picchu 3. Any unique or favorite stories from your travels?

    One of the most notable hikes I have done was a 4-day backpacking trek on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. Discovering one of the world’s most renowned archeological treasures is an amazing experience. The views, scenery and history are bar none. The trek itself is not that long, but the high elevation challenges you, and at the end of the day you feel a great sense of accomplishment. It inspired me so much, I now make sure to do a back-country backpacking trip every year.

4. What destinations are on your bucket list and why?

  • Alaska and Iceland – Hiking, natural beauty, wildlife
  • Honduras – Diving!
  • Norway, Sweden, Finland – Adventure & family heritage
  • Africa – Safaris, African plains & animals
  • Egypt – Pyramids, unique history
  • Outstanding 9 US states – We have some of the most diverse and beautiful scenery right here in our own backyard… Take advantage of it!

What’s your favorite travel story? Create new stories on your next vacation, but don’t forget to pack your travel insurance! Learn more about our products at www.travelinsure.com.


Travel Insurance Services Staff Spotlight: Patti Kirkpatrick
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Travel Insurance Services is more than a set of select travel insurance products. We take pride in having experienced world travelers working with us to guide our customers through choosing the perfect coverage options for them. We sat down with our very own Patti Kirkpatrick, USI VIP Travel Insurance Specialist, to hear about her experience in the travel industry as well as her passion for a jet set lifestyle.

  • Tell us a little about yourself and your experience in the travel industry.

“I primarily assist people traveling on National Geographic Private Jet trips and their Expeditions as well as people traveling with Academic Arrangements Abroad.  I’ve been in the travel industry for 35 years, the last two of them selling travel insurance as well as being a travel advisor.”

  • Where have you yourself traveled?

“One of the biggest blessings of working in the travel industry has been my opportunity to see the world. I love to brag that I’ve been to every continent except Antarctica. (It’s still on my bucket list!) My most recent trip was to the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador!”

  • Any unique/interesting/favorite stories from your travels?

“When visiting Rome a few years ago, I reserved a tour of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel before it opened to the public. It was a thrill of a lifetime for someone who went through 12 years of Catholic schools and who studied Italian Renaissance Art in college.  I felt as giddy as a school girl when I walked into the Vatican immediately on the footsteps of the Swiss Guard as he opened the doors for the day.  Just thinking about it again brings a big smile to my face and raises the hair on the back of my neck.”

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What’s your favorite travel story? Create new stories on your next vacation, but don’t forget to pack your travel insurance! Learn more about our products at www.travelinsure.com.


What You Need to Know to Study in the U.S. 6a01347fc1cb08970c015390c6a082970b-200wi

Are you planning to study in the U.S. from another country? We’ve compiled some helpful resources and tips below.

Visa Information for Students Coming to the U.S.

In order to study in the U.S., you’ll need to apply for a visa. There are several types of visas depending on what type of school you’ll be attending and if you have a sponsor. Learn about the different types of visas, and select the right one for you.

Making It Happen: Preparing for Your Study Abroad Experience

Before you embark on your journey, you’ll want to do your research and prepare as much as possible for your move. Visit the U.S. State Department website and learn about Your 5 Steps to U.S. Study. You can also learn on this site how to get ready for your trip.

Health Coverage for International Students

Once you select a school and secure your visa, you will have to consider how you will be covered for health insurance, as healthcare in the U.S. can be very expensive. Some schools and universities in the U.S. mandate that you take their health coverage. Others, however, allow you to select your own plan.

If you're looking for a trusted student health insurance plan that meets the requirements for most U.S. schools, check out Study USA-HealthCare, offering four plan levels to meet the diverse needs of international students. Thousands of international students across the U.S. rely on Study USA-HealthCare from Travel Insurance Services to provide coverage during their studies. You can enroll online and receive your waiver forms the next day.

Enroll now or call 1-800-937-1387 for more information.

(Are you a U.S. student planning to study abroad? Study USA-HealthCare is for you, too! Learn about the plan and benefits, and secure your health insurance today.)

 


Concerns about Terrorism in the Travel Industry

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The year of 2018 brings with it a remarkably positive outlook for the travel industry, with expected growth continuing throughout the year. According to tripinfo.com:

“This growth in travel isn’t about localized economies and domestic road trips via the family car anymore (although RV sales are expected to hit their highest level in four decades in 2017 according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association). With increasing globalization, international digital and social connectivity, and easily accessible methods of travel, it is easier than ever before for travelers to jet set to somewhere new… While we worry about the rise of nationalism in certain parts of the world, we expect local and national governments and other organizing bodies to maintain and strengthen accommodative policies that support tourism growth in a sustainable way in the long run. Policy uncertainty and geopolitical tensions can’t be ignored, but outside of any major shock, we expect travel to benefit from a solid year of macroeconomic growth in 2018.”

Lingering within this overall positive outlook are certain areas of concern within the industry, notably geopolitical stability, or lack thereof. In particular, travelers still express a level of apprehension for the potential of terrorism in their destination, be it international or domestic travel. With almost regular highly visible incidents of terrorism occurring lately, even in what were once thought of as “safe” or “stable” destinations, it’s no surprise that travelers may have concerns about it affecting their travels. How can you allay their concerns without actually having any control over the situation?

Travel insurance plans that cover terrorism as a named peril can go a long way toward easing the minds of travelers, and at the same time reflect positively on you as you offer a solution. Travel Insurance Services offers numerous trip cancellation plans that include terrorism coverage as a named peril.

Specifically, in both our Travel Insurance Select and Trip Care Complete plans, the Trip Cancellation benefit covers a terrorist incident that occurs within 30 days of your scheduled departure date in a city listed on the itinerary of your trip. This same city must not have experienced a terrorist incident within the 90 days prior to the terrorist incident that is causing your trip cancellation. Benefits are not provided if the Travel Supplier offers a substitute itinerary. This benefit also applies if a terrorist incident occurs during your trip in a city on your itinerary; that event would be covered under the Trip Interruption benefit.

The terrorism coverage is available on our Travel Insurance Select Plan, Trip Care Complete plan, and custom tour operator plans. Do keep in mind that not all travel insurance plans include coverage for terrorism, so be sure to understand the product thoroughly before offering it to your clients.

If you have any questions about the products offered by Travel Insurance Services, or would like to know how we can better help you and your clients, please contact us!

M – F, 9am – 7pm EST

(800) 937-1387

info@travelinsure.com

Source: https://www.tripinfo.com/ITM/Articles2017/ITM8156.html


Travel pic 15 Safety Tips for the Adventurous Traveler

by Kyla Stelling 

When you’re on a travel adventure, you don’t want unforeseen safety mishaps to interrupt or stifle your fun. From planning your trip to purchasing supplies, there are a number of ways you can ensure your safety while traveling to remote destinations. Here is a list of safety tips for those who are traveling to off-the-grid, exotic locations. 

Planning and Preparation

Before you book a flight, research the region you want to visit. It is important that you know as much as you can about your location so you can plan accordingly. For example, if you are traveling to a rainforest, you should know the weather conditions that you’ll encounter while there since they have frequent flooding during their rainy seasons. Plan around the anticipated or seasonal weather conditions, so you can enjoy the best parts of your beautiful, rugged location without unexpectedly finding yourself in the midst of a natural, weather-based disaster. Also, research the necessary vaccinations you may need whenever you plan to visit an exotic and off-the-beaten-path location. Use the State Department’s website to see if your exotic and remote location has been given any travel warnings related to natural disasters, political situations or health conditions.

Securing Things at Home

Once you’ve planned your trip, set up arrangements to secure things at home during your absence. You’ll want to ensure the safety of your home while you are off in distant lands. Make use of home security systems and monitoring devices, like Nest Secure, that will keep guard when you’re not home. You can monitor the state of your home through the Nest app, which is accessible by Wi-Fi and connects to Nest Cams for visual checks. In addition to your home, you’ll also want to protect your bank and personal information from theft while you’re away. Frequent travelers are at a higher risk of identity theft and may want to consider investing in an identity theft service. Find a service that provides a plan engineered just for you, which includes monitoring of personal info, identity misuse scanning, and services for identity theft restoration.

Traveler’s Insurance

When you’re in a remote place, you may be more susceptible to risky and dangerous situations. Protect yourself from the consequences of any unforeseen mishaps by insuring your travel. With travel insurance coverage, you can have access to some money and life-saving services. These services include coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, medical expenses and 24-hour access to emergency and travel assistance services. For information and quotes on travel insurance plans, visit http://www.travelinsure.com/.

Supplies

Before you set out to your remote and exotic destination, pack supplies that will aid any possible emergencies. Some staples include non-perishable food, such as jerky, trail mix or granola bars; a solar-charged flashlight; an emergency blanket, like an all-weather space blanket; a compass and a map of the area. You should also have a thoroughly stocked first aid kit to handle the aches, pains, and injuries that come with travel. Include in your first aid kit: a prescribed antibiotic, diarrhea medicine, laxative, liniment for muscle aches, ointment for insect bites, sunburn protection, sunburn medication, allergy and cold medicines, tweezers, nitrile gloves, moleskin patches, blister gel, thermometer, pain medication, nausea medication, triple antibiotic ointment, band-aids and bandages, alcohol, rubbing pads, hydrogen peroxide and elastic bandages for sprains. REI’s Smart Travel Adventure Medical Kit is fully equipped with all the essentials you need to stay in good health, though it must be transported in your checked luggage as it is not TSA-approved to carry-on.

Communication

When you’re in an off-the-grid spot, you’ll need a means to communicate with the rest of the world. Check in with your cell service provider to see if they serve the area you plan to visit. You may need to consider investing in a satellite phone or hotspot, which will give you the means to communicate in even some of the remotest areas of the world. The Inmarsat IsatPhone 2 Satellite Phone gives you GPS, Bluetooth and SMS coverage in all areas of the globe, except the poles. The phone’s design helps it work in the most rugged conditions, with casing that protects it from rain and dust storms, sub-zero temperatures, or tropic humidity. It has a long-lasting battery and operates over the Inmarsat global I-4 satellite network.

Traveling to your remote location will be an exhilarating and memorable experience, but could easily be interrupted by an unexpected safety incident. Embark on your travels with all safety concerns and risks tended to, so you can fully enjoy your exotic adventure. 

 

Kyla Stelling is enrolled in the Master in Teaching program at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Previous career roles have entailed everything from design and event planning to public relations and child care. In her spare time, Kyla hikes the Cascade Mountains, designs elaborate cakes, and writes alongside her cuddly cat, Wellington.