Last minute travel insurance in just three minutes

18 July 2016
Travellers who have not bought travel insurance in advance will now be able to purchase travel cover in just three minutes at major UK airports using the first-ever self-service digital kiosks from travel insurance specialist Columbus Direct.

Addressing the risk of people travelling uninsured, Columbus Direct is rolling out 30 kiosks at nine UK travel hubs this summer, following its successful trial launch at London Gatwick Airport in August last year. Eight more major UK airports will now offer the service, including London City, Luton, Newcastle, Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Southampton, and Edinburgh. Further UK airports are expected to be added to the roll-out plan in the coming months. The travel cover at the kiosks offers customers the same prices as online quotes so there will not be any extra cost for last-minute purchase at the airports.

Almost a quarter of holidaymakers travelled without insurance last year.[1] Millennials are the most likely group to travel uninsured, with only 69% taking out a policy compared with a national average of 78%. Almost half of Millennials believe that travel insurance is not necessary.

It is estimated travel insurers paid out an estimated £370 million in 2014.[2] Medical treatment was the most common cause for claim, more than cancellation costs or lost and stolen possessions. More than £206 million was paid out to cover the cost of emergency medical treatment, almost £4 million a week.

Alison Wild, Head of Marketing at Columbus Direct, said: "We are incredibly excited about the official roll-out of our digital kiosks throughout the UK. Our customer insight has enabled us to identify a rise in the number of so-called 'last minuters', who know they require travel insurance but simply haven't got around to buying it in advance of departure. Travellers have long been buying foreign currency or picking up rental car at airports, so offering them the opportunity to purchase last-minute travel insurance just makes sense. We have introduced the kiosk-led solution to make insurance purchase a hassle-free, simple process for busy people as well as for those who might not have given much thought to the matter prior to their trip. With this new service offering we can provide holidaymakers protection against any eventualities, and most importantly, peace of mind."

Susan Almond, Business Development Media at London Gatwick Airport, commented: "As London's second largest international airport, we strive to provide first-class airport services to passengers and visitors. When Columbus Direct first approached us to discuss the idea of self-service kiosks, we immediately recognised the considerable value and convenience such machines can provide to travellers. We are very pleased to have been involved in this successful project as the first UK airport."

[1] ABTA, Nearly a third of millennials travelled uninsured last year, 19 May 2016

[2] ABI, Travel insurance helps almost 4,000 people a week who need medical treatment abroad, 18 July 2016 

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