Bryte launches its inaugural Travel Index

06 December 2022 Bryte Insurance Company Limited
Anrieth Symon

Anrieth Symon

South Africans’ globetrotting adventures – Chronicles of our great escapes

• A deep dive into Bryte data offers some captivating revelations
• Interesting insights into the behaviours of South African travellers
• The Index shines a spotlight on the holiday classics and those destinations climbing the popularity ladder
• Insights into the risk spectrum and top risk exposures uncovered

Bryte Insurance Company Limited (Bryte), one of South Africa’s leading travel insurance providers, has launched its inaugural Travel Index. The Bryte Travel Index 2022, which leverages the insurer’s data provides unique insights into the international travel preferences of South African travellers and, importantly, the risks faced.

Sharing her excitement on the inaugural Bryte Travel Index, Anrieth Symon, Head of Travel at Bryte, comments; “As country’s most prominent travel insurance provider, we are excited to make sense of the wealth of data on hand in a manner that captures the risks associated with travel but also the thrill of adventure. We maintain that travel should be a celebration —very little compares with the sheer joy of discovering new places, exploring new cultural treasures and the pleasure of re-visiting old favourites. But, as a trusted partner to thousands of travellers each year, we wanted to paint a realistic picture of travel-related exposures and provide helpful information that helps readers plan for a safer, hassle-free holiday.

The insights and trends-focused Index provides a compelling account of the pre- and post-COVID travel habits of South Africans. It shines a spotlight on the international and regional destinations that are among the most popular, how long we travel for, etc. But it also focuses on the more serious realities of travel – the diversity of prevalent, as well as unforeseen, risks, what we claim for and ways in which to manage risk. Through the Index, Bryte shares some astounding examples of risk incidents in recent years, with single policyholder incidents costing millions of rands.

Spotlight destinations
The Bryte 2022 Travel Index confirms shared assumptions and contains some fun surprises. We clearly can’t get enough of the beach but are also massive adventure seekers. Interestingly, Bryte’s Top 10 list of favourite destinations for South African travellers over the past decade, reveals…
• Our top destination for leisure and business travellers is the country that’s home to the world’s most famous royal family and one of the most cosmopolitan cities, globally – the UK
• South Africans love an island getaway. Our top two African destinations are Mauritius and Zanzibar while Thailand, with its array of more than 1,400 gorgeous islands, is our favourite in Asia.
• Also on this list is a country known for such a variety of attractions. From its scenic cycling routes to its world-famous tulip fields and from the canals of Amsterdam to Dutch clogs and cheese… The Netherlands proudly takes its spot as no. 9 on this list

The amazing antipodes
For many travellers, time and money dictate the destinations they gravitate to, but there are those who are in it for the long haul (pun intended!)

Is it the comparably long flights from Johannesburg to Sydney, Australia or the eye-watering, almost day-long, journey to get to Auckland, New Zealand that is an added motivation for South Africans to stay longer? Perhaps many choose to visit family – after all, more than 250,000 South Africans call one of these countries home.

Whatever the reasons motivating our choices, what’s clear is that travel is not without risk.

Lost and con(found)ed
Lost baggage remains one of the common reasons for claims, particularly for South Africans travelling to/in the USA. The Bryte 2022 Travel Index attributes the heightened level of risk – in part – to the increased volume of domestic flights as many choose to travel to multiple US states/cities. On the other hand, Italy is no. 2 on the list of the highest baggage claims so travellers are cautioned to keep an eye on their valuables when they jet into Rome. “While travel volumes have risen over the past decade, increasingly, people are choosing to travel via key hubs like Dubai International Airport. More connecting flights, means a greater probability of baggage-related losses,” explains Symon.

Emphasising the importance of protection for all your valuables, Symon adds; “It’s advisable for both business and leisure travellers to ensure they are sufficiently covered against possible losses but are also carefully noting the terms of their travel insurance baggage benefit. The reality is that policies generally have a maximum single-item cover limit, which can fall short of the value of high-priced goods. Expensive items – such as laptops, cameras, designer apparel and even prototypes or other high-value materials (such as trade samples) need to be covered by the appropriate business/personal insurance policy.

What comes across quite clearly in the Index is the need for travellers to familiarise themselves with the appropriate travel claims processes. As a first course of action, travellers are reminded to engage travel suppliers on potential losses. In the case of lost luggage, that generally means notifying the airline and following their claims procedures. Each airline has its own process for compensating passengers. Once this process has been followed, insured travellers may be able to claim all or some of the outstanding amount from their travel insurance provider.

Pandemic mayhem
Naturally, trends shifted considerably during the pandemic. With many countries imposing stringent travel restrictions, airlines cancelled flights and the South African government issued advisories against travelling to certain locations. It, therefore, stands to reason that travel insurance claims for cancellations increased six-fold as lockdown became the day-to-day reality. Conversely, claims for lost or damaged baggage declined by 85%, which is unsurprising given the sharp decrease in global travel.

Business minus dis(pleasure)
But lost baggage, cancellations and rejected visas are just some of many things that can go terribly wrong. As many of you can appreciate, business travel, in particular, involves all the ordinary risks of holiday travel – and then some. In some instances, travellers are quite literally taken out of their comfort zones. For example, during a work trip in the DRC, a Bryte traveller took ill and was taken to a local clinic where the patient tested positive for malaria. They were found to be in acute kidney and liver failure and required emergency medical evacuation, which the travel insurance policy promptly provided for.

The US of A(ilments)
Regardless of the purpose of travel, medical emergencies are among the more unsettling and expensive realities when travelling overseas. Medical expenses account for the most claims by Bryte travellers, both in terms of volume and rand value. Again, the USA is in the lead, accounting for more than half (56%) of the value of all medical claims. When one considers the disproportionate cost of medical care in the country, this comes as no surprise. To illustrate the extent, a Bryte customer suffered abdominal pain while in the USA and had to undergo diagnostic tests and surgery. The treatment cost, which included a hospital stay, was a whopping R3.2 million.

Not all medical incidents are life-threatening, but without prompt professional attention, they can put a real damper on your holiday. Many of us have taken ill abroad, whether it’s an upset stomach, a suspicious rash or a persistent case of flu. And in unfamiliar terrain, the possibility of food poisoning will be in the back of many minds. Without appropriate cover, there is often a strong temptation to put off treatment to avoid incurring a considerable expense. That may mean missed opportunities to maximise each moment on your trip. Not to mention that delaying care could, in certain cases, potentially lead to more serious health problems down the line.

Today, many of us have a renewed respect for the complexities of travel risk and the multitude of things that could go seriously wrong. South Africans remain intrepid travellers, but reassuringly – as the Index demonstrates – we won’t hesitate to seek expert travel advice. As the global resurgence in the demand for travel increases, leveraging the expertise of travel consultants is highly advisable to ensure one has a realistic view of exposures, and proactive and reactive risk mitigation measures – giving travellers much-needed peace of mind.

We are delighted to launch our inaugural Bryte Travel Index 2022 and take pride in the insights we have shared. We hope that the data-driven trends and first-hand accounts positively influence traveller behaviours and agility in an increasingly uncertain, global socio-economic context.

As a leader in travel cover in South Africa, Bryte offers a range of travel insurance policies tailored to meet the varying needs and budgets of travellers.

You can download the Bryte Travel Index for 2022 here...

Bryte Travel Index risk list here...

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