Even if the older market is more dominant, there is no doubt that cruise companies are working towards making cruising more attractive for younger and more active travellers. But, as insurers point out, more excitement may mean higher risk and not all ‘adrenaline activities’ are limited to younger cruisers. In fact, both ends of the age spectrum may pose challenges for assistance companies and insurers.
The good news is that younger cruise travellers seem to understand the importance of insurance cover for their trip, though. “Year over year, we’ve seen a 25-per-cent increase in travellers of all ages buying travel insurance specifically for cruise trips and a whopping 61-per-cent increase in millennials purchasing policies for vacations involving cruises,” says Hummer.
Which is good news, as the risks for younger cruise passengers are just as pressing as those for older travellers. “Younger travellers are prone to some slightly bizarre things, especially when alcohol is involved,” commented Huet.
Statistics bear her out. The average age of a passenger going overboard from a cruise ship is 41, states Cruisemapper, a specialist website. Most such incidents involve males who are ‘either drunk, on drugs or engaged in tomfoolery [such as] climbing between staterooms [or] playing on railings’, Cruisemapper claims.
“Alcohol is a problem for older people too,” Huet noted, citing ‘slips, trips and serious fractures as a result of one nightcap too many’. “This is impossible to retrospectively detect or decline a claim for,” she said. Such accidents are often the start of some of the largest claims.
“Minor accidents cause some really big issues. Slips in showers, tripping over door-wells, trapped fingers in self-closing doors, self-administered non-prescription medicines that create havoc with prescription medicines, have triggered some seriously big claims,” said Huet. “These seemingly small events cascade into life-threatening situations when they impact on pre-existing medical conditions. But then that’s what travel insurance is for.”
Problems arise, however, when the activities on offer are not actually covered by travel insurance. As Jenna Hummer, Public Relations Director at Squaremouth, a US travel insurance comparison website, points out: “Cruises are offering a wider array of adventure and hazardous sports activities not covered by standard travel insurance policies such as on-board simulators, bungee jumping or rock climbing walls, and water and land sport-related activities such as scuba diving, jet skiing, and zip-lining.”
Read the full ITIJ article online here: https://www.itij.com/feature/evolution-cruise-cover