January 2024 Market Update – Accident & Health
The sharp decline in international and domestic travel driven by COVID-19 has now seen a full reversal. Rates of travel have steadily increased over the past 12 months to a level which now exceeds pre-covid behaviour.
Australians have demonstrated a strong appetite for business and leisure travel, with the international travel market returning strongly despite economic factors.
Insurers have updated their policy wordings to cover illness and injury related to COVID-19 like any other sickness. Most insurers’ policies now have removed any COVID restrictions.
Insurers are now scrutinising business and leisure trips. Considering the high volume of trips, insurers are beginning to look to exit the leisure market with policies containing over 25 per cent leisure becoming hard to place. Policy definitions of Directors and Executives Private Leisure Travel are being updated to provide increased clarity regarding coverage intent.
Outside of leisure travel, insurer competition for traditional corporate travel policies is increasing, and renewal premiums can be expected at “rollover” rates.
Group Personal Accident and Sickness (Voluntary Workers, Journey, and Sports Insurance)
Pricing and coverage remain steady for Voluntary Workers and Journey. There has been a slight uplift in journey claims with more people returning to the office. Many workplaces are expected to increase staff days in the office in 2024 which may impact these claims further.
Key areas to watch for and be aware of in 2024 are medical expenses inflation which will impact insurer rates accordingly. Where relevant, insurers recommend weekly benefit caps should be reviewed in respect of wage increases.
Where sport is involved, insurers are seeking minor increases, and this will continue over the next 12 months.
Inpatriate/Expatriate Medical Expenses
Similar to the above, employees are continuing to work abroad worldwide as the travel industry thrives. These policy classes have been relatively stagnant over previous years which is reflected in stable premiums. Insurers are shifting away from writing one-off policies for individuals in favour of targeting group policies.
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