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Understanding Travel Insurance with Kelly Sahner

Nobody likes talking about travel insurance… until it saves the day.

Kelly Sahner, the chief commercial officer at Trip Mate, has seen a travel insurance policy save people’s vacations — and maybe their lives — more times than she can count. She joins this episode of Gather and Go to help us make sense of this topic that can be complicated but critical for successful travel experiences.

Kelly shares insights on how to buy travel insurance in a crowded market and how you can offer it to your tour clients in a way that meets their needs. Plus, we have news about new requirements for travel to Europe; a Road Tip about how to pay for travel expenses on the road; and a Hot Minute about the need for new blood in the tourism industry.

Insights from Kelly Sahner:

On the value of travel insurance:

“You hear how important travel insurance is from people who didn’t have it and wish they had it…. You’re spending thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on your trip. What if the unexpected happens? We think of travel insurance as protecting you from the unknown and protecting the money you spent on your trip. It’s really hedging your bets.”

On offering travel insurance to your clients:

“If [people] want to offer insurance, they need to know that it’s a regulated product. They have to have a license in their home state. And depending on the states they’re selling to, they may need to pick up a New York license or a Hawaii license…. You can’t include insurance. It can’t be a tie-in sale. There are a lot of rules and regulations.”

On the difference between travel insurance and business insurance:

“[Errors and omissions insurance] a completely different policy than a travel insurance policy. Travel insurance protects the traveler. The agency has their own policies to protect them in case someone sues them or there’s an error.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Learn more about Trip Mate at

Apply to attend our Louisiana River Region FAM tour at

Sign up for notifications for all our OnSite FAM opportunities at

Key Moments From This Episode

1:17 — Travel News: New requirements for travel to Europe

2:50 — Road Tip: How to pay for travel purchases

9:24 — FAM tour opportunities

12:52 — How Kelly Sahner found her calling in travel insurance

16:22 — What makes travel insurance so important

26:42 — Figuring out where to buy travel insurance

31:52 — Should your company sell travel insurance to clients?

37:21 — Rules about packaging insurance

39:14 — Other insurance travel businesses need

30:17 — The value proposition of friendship-building travel

About the Podcast

Gather and Go with Brian Jewell is a tourism podcast that helps group travel leaders plan, promote and lead better trips. Each episode reaches thousands of professional tour operators, travel agents and the volunteer group leaders they serve. The audience also includes destination marketers, museum leaders, church travel leaders and other tourism enthusiasts around the world. Each show includes a featured conversation with a smart and influential travel leader. You’ll also hear travel news, road tips and more. New episodes are released about twice monthly.

You can find Gather and Go wherever your listen to podcasts or subscribe by email.

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