The California Insurance Commissioner has ordered Trip Assured to stop doing business in the state of California. This Tennessee-based travel insurance company was apparently defrauding companies. But Trip Assured claims that what they were selling in California was not travel insurance. The Commissioner finds their claim undeniable since what they were selling could easily fall into the insurance category or definition. Trip Assured ‘s main marketing target is senior citizens.
California decided to take action once notice was taken that other states like Michigan, Texas, Florida, and North Carolina were taking similar actions against Trip Assured. Upon further research, Trip Assured denied 30 claims in California and there were 76 claims filed against them (in the last 36 months) with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). However the BBB states that those claims were addressed by Trip Assured although those that filed the claims would not agree with that assessment of the situation. There are also other travel insurance companies that have claims filed against them which is unfortunate since the travel insurance industry is growing rapidly, especially for those expensive vacation trips. The BBB in Tennessee has now revoked their (Trip Assured) membership – you would think that would mean something since the company is based in Tennessee.
Here is an example from one of the claims made against Trip Assured. Sylvia Resnick is a senior citizen that booked a trip just for herself to Europe as well as a cruise while in Europe. She purchased Trip Assured through her travel agency at the time of booking the trip. It had taken her a long time to save up for the vacation that was to be “that trip of a lifetime”. During the vacation, she suffered serious back injuries and had to cancel the cruise. As soon as she arrived home she saw her doctor and obtained a doctor’s note that stated that she could not continue with the cruise due to the injury. As required by the policy she sent that note to Trip Assured expecting to be paid out under the terms of the agreement. It came as a total shock when they denied her claim and thus did not return her money.
There are two questions here. The first is why would an insurance company that is supposedly aimed at satisfying their clients put this senior citizen through this? The second question is how could the BBB view this situation (and situations just like this) as resulting in a satisfactory outcome?
Be very careful the next time you invest in trip insurance. For those of you who have already purchased Trip Assured, you can contact their bank. It is First National Bank of Tennessee and the hotline number is 931-707-3561, but that hotline is only effective for MasterCard customers, but call nonetheless to see what non-MasterCard customers should do. Hours of operation are 6 am. to 2:30 pm. Pacific Time. If you want to make a complaint, contact the state Department of Insurance at 800-927-4357 or you can file a complaint online at http://www.insurance.ca.gov.