While traveling can certainly be an exciting and enriching experience, it’s important to remember that unexpected events can happen while you’re away from home.
This is where travel insurance comes in. It can offer financial protection in case you have to cancel your trip, have a medical emergency while abroad, or encounter other unforeseen situations.
You can easily compare and buy travel insurance through a comparison website like TravelInsurance.com. When learning about travel insurance, you may come across the term “underwriter” and wonder what an underwriter is or why an underwriter is necessary.
In this article, we’ll review the important role an underwriter plays in the travel insurance industry and the companies that are currently considered to be the top underwriters.
Travel Insurance Underwriters
When it comes to travel insurance, an underwriter is a person or company who evaluates the risks associated with providing coverage for various travel-related events, like trip cancellation, medical emergencies, lost luggage, and so on.
Underwriters use actuarial data and statistical models to determine the likelihood of these events occurring and the potential cost of a claim. Based on this analysis, the underwriter sets the premium rates for the insurance policy and decides whether to offer coverage to the traveler.
If a claim is made, the underwriter will assess the validity of the claim and decide whether to give compensation to the policyholder.
In short, the role of the underwriter in travel insurance is to evaluate and manage the risk associated with insuring travelers, and to ensure that the policy provides adequate coverage.
Knowing this background, you can probably guess why it is important who the underwriter is for a travel insurance policy. Reputable underwriters will likely have more financial stability and may be more likely to approve claims, which is what you want.
Travel Insurance Underwriters in the Industry
Now let’s dive into the top underwriters backing some of the most reputable travel insurance companies as of the date of this article.
1. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA
National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA is a global insurance company with over a century of experience. Founded in 1901 and known for its financial stability and customer service, the company offers various insurance products and services such as property and casualty, professional liability, and cyber liability to a diverse, global clientele. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA is a division of American International Group Inc.
National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA underwrites for AIG Travel Guard, which is owned by American International Group Inc.
2. BCS Insurance Company
BCS Insurance Group comprises BCS Insurance Company (BCSI) and 4 Ever Life Insurance Company, along with parent company BCS Financial Corporation. BCSI is a multiple-line insurance company offering property and casualty insurance, employee benefits, professional liability, and commercial products.
BCS Insurance Group offers insurance and reinsurance to Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans, their customers, and agents, and to market specialized products for selected commercial insurance markets.
BCSI holds licenses in all 50 states and is an underwriter for Allianz Global Assistance.
3. Arch Insurance Company
Arch Insurance Company is a global provider of specialized risk solutions for clients across a wide range of industries, including travel insurance. Arch Insurance Company offers exceptional coverage and claims handling through careful underwriting and business-friendly solutions.
The company operates in North America, Europe, Bermuda, and Australia. The parent company, Arch Capital Group Ltd., is based in Bermuda and has over $15 billion in capital. Arch Insurance has received high scores from independent rating agencies.
Arch Insurance Company is the underwriter for and owner of Arch RoamRight.
4. Nationwide Insurance
Nationwide Insurance is a diversified insurance and financial services business located in Columbus, Ohio, and is currently ranked on the Fortune 100 list. Nationwide Insurance is committed to customer-focused innovation and offers a comprehensive range of products and services, including insurance for cars, homes, businesses, farms, and life, as well as retirement plans, annuities, mutual funds, and various other specialty products such as pet, motorcycle, and boat insurance.
Nationwide Insurance underwrites for Trawick International and AXA Assistance USA.
5. Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, or BHSI, is a commercial insurance provider that was established in 2013 after Berkshire Hathaway Inc. made a significant move into the industry.
BHSI has since grown steadily and strategically, expanding into new territories and product lines, and attracting highly qualified professionals who prioritize customer satisfaction and possess strong capabilities and ethical values. BHSI has exceptional financial strength with $398.3B in total assets and $238.3B in policyholder surplus, resulting in outsize capacity and flexible solutions.
BHSI underwrites for Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection.
6. Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY
Generali U.S. Branch is the U.S. representative office of Assicurazioni Generali, S.p.A., an Italian multinational insurance company.
Established in 1935 and based in New York, Generali U.S. Branch started off by operating as a property and casualty reinsurance company, and later became a direct insurance company by managing general agents. The U.S. Branch later became licensed as a domestic insurance/reinsurance company in all 50 states and territories for all major business lines. The company also offers underwriting services for various business lines, including travel insurance.
Generali U.S. Branch is an underwriter for Generali Global Assistance.
7. SiriusPoint Specialty Insurance Corporation
SiriusPoint Specialty Insurance Corporation is a global insurance and reinsurance underwriter that offers solutions to clients and brokers all over the world, with offices in New York, London, Stockholm, and other locations.
SiriusPoint is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (SPNT) and has licenses for Property & Casualty and Accident & Health insurance and reinsurance globally. With $2.9 billion in total capital, the operating companies of SiriusPoint have received an A- (Excellent) financial strength rating from AM Best, S&P, and Fitch.
Sirius Point underwrites for IMG.
8. Starr Indemnity & Liability Company, New York, NY
Starr Insurance Companies have evolved from the first US-owned insurance agency in Shanghai to a global leader with a century of expertise.
This underwriter excels in offering insurance solutions tailored to the specific needs of international markets. With extensive global experience, Starr offers reliable and comprehensive property, casualty, accident, and health insurance solutions. Starr’s financial strength is evident with an estimated $9.6 billion in gross written premiums, over $31 billion in total assets, and shareholders’ equity exceeding $10 billion as of December 31, 2022.
Starr Indemnity & Liability Company underwrites for John Hancock Travel Insurance Agency.
9. Crum & Forster
Crum & Forster specializes in providing a diverse range of insurance solutions for property and casualty, accident and health, and other specialty industries. The company offers both admitted and surplus lines products to meet the specific needs of their clients.
In terms of financial performance, the company reported $4.6 billion in gross premiums written in 2022, with a net income of $1.1 billion. A.M. Best has given the rating of “A” (Excellent) with a stable outlook to Crum & Forster.
Crum & Forster currently underwrites for travel insurance companies like CF Travel Insured International, which is a subsidiary of Crum & Forster, and Seven Corners.
10. U.S. Specialty Insurance Company (USSIC)
U.S. Specialty Insurance Company (USSIC) is a subsidiary of Tokio Marine HCC, which is a leading specialty insurance group based in Houston, Texas. This company currently holds an A++ (Superior) rating from AM Best for financial strength and long-term issuer creditor.
USSIC underwrites for WorldTrips‘ Atlas Journey, Atlas Cruiser and Atlas On-The-Go trip protection insurance products.
Before buying travel insurance, it’s a good idea to do some research and read reviews from other travelers to get an idea of the underwriter’s reputation and the quality of the policy.
With that said, it’s not always crucial to conduct in-depth research on the various underwriters when buying travel insurance. What matters most is checking out the travel insurance company itself. If the company is reputable and has a solid track record, there is a high likelihood that it has partnered with a reputable and financially stable underwriter.
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