Leadership / 08.03.18
Increasing Live Event Insurance and Ticket Refunds
Traditionally, live events tickets have been non-refundable, but that’s starting to change.
Live event ticket insurance or “ticket refund protection” is growing in popularity, offering customers the ability to cover the cost of a pre-purchased ticket if they’re unable to attend the event due to an unprecedented amount of reasons. In February of this year, the founder and CEO of TicketGuardian, said, “‘No refunds’ [is] a really outdated status-quo.”
For eons, it was entirely out of the norm to see a ticket for a live event that was refundable. And when insurance for live events tentatively emerged on the scene, the list of circumstances policies would cover was narrowly limited to illness or injury of the insured or a family member. Now, the list of valid reasons for receiving ticket refunds is continually growing.
Jennifer Grawey, regional vice president of national accounts for AIG Travel, cites multiple reasons for the trend toward refundable live event tickets. "As travel has become more accessible and there has been an increase in global events such as terrorism, geo-political turmoil and even natural disasters, the scope for this product has widened," Grawey said. "Public safety is, unfortunately, at the forefront of many people's minds due to recent events, such as the attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester and the shooting at the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Festival. So, having coverage ― should an incident occur or if travel is restricted due to an international government shutdown ― is now a serious consideration for consumers, when that certainly wasn't the case a few years ago."
Other examples of situations covered under current live event ticket insurance policies include: being called to active duty military service; inclement weather, making travel to the event venue not possible or causing the event to be canceled; and traffic accidents on the way to the event, preventing an individual from attending.
Simon Mabb, CEO of Booking Protect Ltd., said, "It is a growing market, and consumers are now looking for this product actively. We cover everything from concerts and festivals to endurance runs, hotel bookings and kids summer camps."
Both Grawey and Mabb noted that there are a few misconceptions regarding live event insurance.
"Confusion can arise when the event itself is canceled,” Grawey said. “For example, if a concert is canceled because an artist is sick, a reimbursement would generally be forthcoming from the venue. That scenario would therefore not usually be covered under the event registration insurance benefit."
As with any other insurance product, customers should always read the policy details and discuss their requirements with a customer service representative to ensure coverage that fits their unique needs and circumstances.
"There is the common misconception that we pay the refunds, then charge the venue — we don't!" Mabb said.
Where Will Live Event Ticket Insurance Go?
According to Mabb, there is a distinct area of growth for ticketing insurance. "The key area [of evolution] is that we don't exclude people with pre-existing medical conditions,” she said. “This represents over 30 percent of our refunds, so it is indeed a key area. Also, the length of time for the customer to apply for a refund is a key enhancement. After all, we should be helping customers to get a genuine refund, not trying to trip them up."
Regarding the long term, Mabb is optimistic. "I think we will always be evolving. That is how you stay ahead of your competition. Customer expectations have changed so much over the last 20 years, and, in this digital age, there are always advancements to be made."
Grawey, meanwhile, concluded, "What we know for sure is that the market will certainly change. Predicting exactly how those changes will take shape is a greater challenge."
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Tags: Accessibility , Reselling , Secondary Ticketing