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Author: janice!

Joined: 3/18/2010
Posts: 277
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 1999

January 06, 2013

Singsling, my previous statement about GCT retunding my payment for the Travel Protection Plan when they cancel a trip was based on my personal experience with what happened when they cancelled a trip I had paid for. I don't actually know that this is what they do in every case. I have not been able fo find anything in the plan documenation about the possibility of a trip being cancelled by GCT.

Author: garyrr

Joined: 8/25/2012
Posts: 122
GCT Trips Taken: 1
OAT Trips Taken: 16
Countries Visited:

Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, S Africa, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Peru, New Zealand, Greece, Turkey, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, India, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Italy, Ireland, Great Britain, Netherlands, Belgium, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Zambia

Traveler Since: 2000

January 06, 2013

Janice -  you've restated what I was trying to say (and obviously didn't get my point across) -   Travel companies don't have the time or expertise to handle the claims and process them.  They "may" hold the "risk" -  but contract with the insurance companies for THEIR expertise (processing claims) -    and the travel company does what they know how to do -  handle the travel!

As I did say previously - the SAME thing is done by most large companies with their health insurance -   almost ALL BIG companies are "self insured" -  but use insurance companies for claims processing and their contracted rates with providers.

I REALLY HOPE the moderator will chime in here and put an end to the speculation on how GCT/OAT handles this! -    Is GCT/OAT the ultimate payer -  OR is the insurer holding the risk?  All I've tried to do in my posts is explain how it DOES work when companies "self insure" and hire an insurance company as a processor - it DOES happen all the time  -   but I have no idea if that's what's happening with GCT/OAT.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 973
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

January 07, 2013

You're both right.  I still have the policy I got for that trip to the UK I had to cancel last summer.  It only cites reasons for which the traveler would have to cancel, nothing about what's covered if GCT has to cancel (or chooses to).  Common sense would say that the company would be responsible for what had been paid to the company.  But not peripheral charges such as for a visa, immunization shots, etc.  That was discussed recently in the OAT forum.

Author: dgevry

Joined: 9/4/2010
Posts: 65
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 2010

January 07, 2013

In late January 2011 Grand Circle cancelled our Egypt trip due to the riots. We were given a choice of standard refund or booking another trip. We booked the Holland and Belgium cruise for April that year. In this case all the money we had spent ( tour fees, travel protection fees as well as over $700 in travel credits) was applied to the new trip. I rememember specifically asking if the travel protection money would be transferred. In fact, Grand Circle gave us another $400 credit which they called a Worldwide Event credit.  I don't remember what the standard refund included, but I think we would have forfeitted our frequent travel credits and perhaps the travel protection fee. We never considered the refund when told our options because we made out a lot better by booking another trip. Also, booking a replacement trip lessened the disappointment of not going to Egypt. Yes, I too would appreciate the moderator telling us exactly what will be refunded if Grand Circle has to cancel a trip.

Diane

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 973
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

January 07, 2013

I don't think you would have forfeited the travel protection fee, since nothing is said in the policy about GCT canceling the trip.  When the traveler cancels, that's the piece you don't get back because you are using the insurance it paid for.

But I agree that this discussion really needs some input from GCT, because we are all estimating and posting what we think.

Author: svncontinents

Joined: 11/25/2011
Posts: 230
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2007

January 07, 2013

 We would surmise that Grand Circle is self-insuring the Part 'A' benefits.  Our surmise is based on a comparison of the Grand Circle to the Caravan policies.  They are almost identical in format and coverages, except that the Caravan policy is totally underwritted the the National Fire Insurance Company( no relation to the U.S Fire Insurance Company which underwrites the Medical portion of the Grand Circle policy ).  We checked the web sites of both fire insurance companies and we discovered that the company that underwrites the Caravan policy is totally a subsidiary of Chartis, which became Travel Guard, which itself is an AIG company.  The Grand Circle policy iondicates or alludes to the fact that the Part 'A' benefits are not insurance benefits( except in NY, where the Law requires that they be.  consequently, Grand Circle can self-insure without having to create a risk payment pool.  

The travel cancellation benefits are claimed far less in comparison to claims requested the medical benefits.  IOW, a person is far more likely to have a claim for medical reasons than say, for trip delay, baggage delay, or trip cancellation for covered reasons, etc.  The Grand Circle 'cancel for any reason' waiver stipulates that a voucher be provided as compensation, so anyone using this waiver will actually have no money returned.  Hence, it isw likely that Grand Circle collects premiums for coverages which it is far less likely to pay a claim for, creating individual profits.  Not calling them insurance benefits, precludes them from establishing a risk payment pool, which is essentially putting money away to pay potential claims.  The US. Fire Insurance company does maintain such a pool, since it is indemnifyong the medical coverages.

It is interesting to note, that the Caravan policy, which is totaly underwritten the the insurance company appears, in our very general comparison, to be less expensive than the Grand Circle policy, which appears to be underwritten both by the insurance company and Grand circle.  Of course, these are surmises, based on a comparison of policies each marketed to the travel industry. 

Author: grandcircle

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 274
GCT Trips Taken: 0
OAT Trips Taken: 0

January 07, 2013

Hello Everybody -

Thank you for your comments & questions.  Any compensation given in conjunction with our Travel Protection Plan comes directly from TripMate.

If you have specific questions about what is/is not covered or how specific compensation is distributed, please contact TripMate directly at 1-800-888-7292.

Kind Regards,
Michelle
GCT/GCCL Forum Moderator

 

Author: janice!

Joined: 3/18/2010
Posts: 277
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 1999

January 07, 2013

Garyrr, you did get your point across to me. Your comments about how large companies handle health insurance contributed to my understanding of the role of Trip Mate in regard to the GCT TPP. I continue to believe that Trip Mate is not an insurer for the plan.

Svncontinents, the statements in your first paragraph of your most recent post seem to be the same as what I have said throughout this discussion. I think that the statements in your second paragraph are conjecture on your part. Do you have any knowledge of how many claims are made for Part A benefits compared to how many for Part B benefits? Do you have any knowledge of the average amount of payments for each category of benefits? Do you have any knowledge of how much of the cost of the TPP is used to pay for Part A benefits, how much is used to pay Part B benefits, how much is used to pay Trip Mate to administer the plan and how much is used to pay for the One Call services?

Author: garyrr

Joined: 8/25/2012
Posts: 122
GCT Trips Taken: 1
OAT Trips Taken: 16
Countries Visited:

Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, S Africa, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Peru, New Zealand, Greece, Turkey, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, India, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Italy, Ireland, Great Britain, Netherlands, Belgium, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Zambia

Traveler Since: 2000

January 07, 2013

Moderator -   I'm not sure you answered our question.  Yes, we know the payments COME from Trip Mate -  but are they acting as an insurer? Or as a "claims processor"  - there IS a difference!    If a claims processor, then the risk of loss is held by GCT, if they are an insurer,  all risk of loss is held by them.  But, in either case, they "payments" would still come from TripMate.

Author: garyrr

Joined: 8/25/2012
Posts: 122
GCT Trips Taken: 1
OAT Trips Taken: 16
Countries Visited:

Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, S Africa, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Peru, New Zealand, Greece, Turkey, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, India, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Italy, Ireland, Great Britain, Netherlands, Belgium, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Zambia

Traveler Since: 2000

January 07, 2013

Janice -   my "obiviously didn't get my point across" -  was in reference to other people's comments - and I was thanking you for stating it another way as I hadn't accomplished what I'd attempted to.   I fully understood that you were understanding me.

Author: grandcircle

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 274
GCT Trips Taken: 0
OAT Trips Taken: 0

January 07, 2013

Hello Everybody -

As always, thank you for your comments.  

If anybody has additional comments or questions about this topic that have not been addressed in this thread, please contact me directly at gctforummoderator@gct.com. I will refer your questions or comments to the appropriate department.

Kind Regards,

Michelle

GCT/GCCL Forum Moderator

Author: janice!

Joined: 3/18/2010
Posts: 277
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 1999

January 07, 2013

Garyrr, I appreciate your last response to me.

To everyone: if you decide to pursue the outstanding questions with Trip Mate and are willing to share what you learned, I recommend you start a new topic in the Share Travel Tips forum. Please to the same if you learn anything about premium refunds from other travel insurance companies.

Author: svncontinents

Joined: 11/25/2011
Posts: 230
GCT Trips Taken: 7
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2007

January 07, 2013

 As we said in our posts, our conclusions are a surmise.  However, the surmise is based on comparitive costs of the two policies as well as who is providing the benefit and what we have gleened from other web sites as to comparitive claims, which, we will add is not documentary, but rather unscientific information.  Here is what we DO know:  Grand Circle offers a Travel Protection Plan in two parts-a first part which includes benefits related to the trip itself, and a second part which includes all benefits due to medicalclaims.  Benefits provided in Part 'A' are provided by Grand Circle; part 'B' benefits are provided by U.S. Fire Insurance Company.  Grand Circle states that Part 'A' benefits are not insurance benefits( except for NY residents ), but Part 'B' benefits are.  By comparison, the Caravan policy, also in two parts, are BOTH provided by National fire insurance company, and are BOTH classified as insurance benefits.  The classification as insurance benefits, means that there is a risk pool maintained to pay claims.  If the benefit is not an insurance payment, then effectively, the entity providing the benefit is self-insuring, as they do not have to maintain a risk pool.  Logically, why would any business entity assume a risk for which there is possibility of financial loss, without adequate hedging of the risk, except if the risk is low and the potential profit is high. Such is the case with the division of benefits between Grand Circle and the U.S. Fire Insurance Company.  it is interesting to note that Caravan provides essentially the same insurance, but underwritten in totality by insurance, which is less expensive.  That would be expected if the Part 'A' section benefits are solely at the discretion of Grand Circle, and not the insurance company.  We admit this is a surmise, but it does go far towards explaining the differences.  And regardless, as we said initially, what difference does it make who pays for what or what the business relationships are between the insurer and Grand Circle.  The only thing a consumer should be concerned with is what are they buying, do they need what they are buying, and how much does it cost in comparison to what they could purchase the same thing for elsewhere?  

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