Big business clients can be the lifeblood of some businesses, and travel companies may appreciate the reliance they have on corporate clients. But the larger the amount of responsibility, the larger the amount of legal risk. Even small-scale private clients can take legal action if they feel they have been wronged by a mistake a travel agent has made, and a more legally aware public could be more inclined to seek official advice if they feel they have suffered what is known as a financial injury because of a mistake, perceived or real. Travel agent professional indemnity cover provides cash payouts towards your legal defence if you ever face an unwanted legal claim.
To give a straightforward example, a travel company might sort out a team bonding trip for a group of employees. A mix up with the transport arrangement, could mean they are delayed on their return back to the UK, for days in some circumstances. This could mean the company in question is hit hard due to the lack of staff, and may seek compensation for any money it feels it has lost. It might have to hire agency staff for a short period while it waits for its employees to return, and could legally launch a claim for the expenditure of this.
Travel agent professional indemnity cover would pay the legal costs of defending such a case, whether or not the claim made against you is valid or not. It covers not just individuals but travel companies, and as such normally also guards against claims that the employees of a travel company have acted dishonestly, and perhaps been accused of stealing from a client.
Other eventualities which can normally be paid out on include allegations of defamation, claims you have breached someone’s confidentiality or copyright, and even the allegation you have lost or damaged important data or documents belonging to a client.
Indemnity cover is normally quite flexible-you can often arrange an excess as with any other common insurance policy, and you can also arrange cover periods which protect you while you are changing insurers, or which will even provide retroactive protection for claims which arrive in the future but which date back to something which happened before you even bought the policy.
Travel agent professional indemnity cover must also be set at a limit, as a policy will not pay out for an indefinite amount of legal help and compensation. How much you need depends on your business, and you will need to make a sensible judgement. Too much cover and you’ll be paying for protection you do not need, but being under insured would mean if you would need to pick up the difference of any large bill or compensation order.
With the world getting smaller thanks to technological advances and more travel routes, the role of a travel agent is getting wider and potentially more detailed. However, people have increasingly busy lives and may rely more heavily on agents to do more for them and to get things right. A mistake with some clients could lead to some people being delayed on their travels and potentially having knock on effects for their jobs and lives. Corporate clients in particular may feel aggrieved if a mistake by an agent means a group of their workers are back late from a trip. This means travel agent professional indemnity cover is something for any agent operating in the sector to consider, be it individually or as part of a firm.
Indemnity cover kicks in if you are ever formally accused of making a mistake, omission, or act of negligence in connection with your business. It generally applies if you are sued because of something the company has done or failed to do, which in some cases can lead to legal action. This typically happens when a client feels they have lost money due to something a travel agent has done, which could be connected to corporate trips or when a client perhaps suffers hardship in some other way because they have been delayed.
Travel agent professional indemnity cover will help pay your legal fees all the way through a case and will apply no matter how valid the claim against you is. So even if a complaint is completely unfounded, the insurance will still pay out because you’ll still need to defend your business. Crucially, indemnity cover also typically pays out compensation if it is awarded to a complainant too. Unsurprisingly there are limits on how much a policy will pay out and this is agreed when you take out the cover, but you can normally work out the level of protection you will need.
As with other kind of insurance you can even specify an excess on many types of indemnity cover. This is an initial fee you agree to pay towards expenses before cover kicks in full, similar in many ways to the kind of excess you would have on a car insurance policy. Other things you might want to check with insurers are whether or not public liability insurance will be included, as firms will sometimes throw this in too.
Your typical travel agent professional indemnity cover policy will also protect you against a wide range of outcomes. Beyond mistakes it also often guards against claims an agency’s employees have acted dishonestly and perhaps stolen from a client. It even protects you if you are accused of losing or damaging a client’s important data or documents, or of infringing confidence or copyright.
People generally go to a travel agent to sort out their holiday in order to save time and money. The convenience and professional service provided by a company can help a family book a cost effective and enjoyable break. But this of course involves taking on quite a lot of responsibility, and if you make a mistake while arranging something for a client, you could end up on the wrong end of a legal claim. Travel agent professional indemnity cover is a form of insurance which protects against this by paying for legal bills so you can defend your case effectively.
For example, you could arrange a holiday for a company executive, who has to return to work on a certain date. If you made an error in the return flight arrangements, they may not get back to the UK for days or even weeks after they were supposed to return. This could have financial implications for the individual and the company, and may lead to a legal case. In such circumstances, a travel agent professional indemnity cover plan would pay for the costs of hiring legal help.
This is only one example, and a policy will normally also protect against things like unintentional defamation, the loss of a client’s important data or documents, and generally covers any kind of or omission, mistake, or act of negligence that might be made in the general conduct of the business.
When it comes to costs, you can agree an excess with the insurer which may bring down your premium. As with something like car insurance, you can agree to pay an initial level of fee before the insurer starts to pick up the bill. You then need to decide the limit of your policy, as insurance companies will not typically pay for an unlimited amount of legal costs. It is important to get this right, otherwise you risk being under insured. So a large travel agency with a chain of branches might want protection for millions of pounds worth of costs, while a very small independent firm with a limited client list may want something for hundreds of thousands.
This type of cover is usually fairly flexible, and this is because legal claims can be unpredictable. So, you could take an insurance policy after you have been trading for a few months, but then find a claim arrives which relates to something before your insurance was purchased. For these circumstances you can buy what is known as retroactive cover, which even covers you for something which happened before the insurance was taken out. However, you must not have been notified of the legal action after you bought the policy.
You can also select a run off period for a travel agent professional indemnity cover policy, effectively protecting you after your business has ceased trading or while you change to another insurer. This ensures there is no vulnerable gap in which you could face a legal claim which you might not be covered for.
A competitive market means travel arrangements can be sorted out more cheaply than ever before. The industry itself is also a rewarding one, particularly in you have a good rapport with clients and are able to draw on an admirable list of regular customers. Although a travel agent normally has to rely on other agencies such as airline firms, bus companies and hotels, they are still expected to provide satisfactory holidays to the people who buy them, and this means they are providing a professional service. If someone isn’t happy they can end up taking legal action, and this is arguably more likely in a more legally aware society. Travel agent professional indemnity cover will help protect you in such circumstances, and allow you to get on with your business.
Although it can’t make a legal claim go away, this type of cover will pick up your legal bills which will be run up during the defence of a case. Sometimes these costs can run into thousands or hundreds of thousands of pounds depending on what is involved, and having an insurer pay the costs takes off a lot of financial pressure and strain.
A significant legal action might seem a million miles away, but a simple slip up in the arrangements for someone’s holiday could mean some people are inclined to sue. Travel agent professional indemnity cover will protect you if someone accuses your business of making a mistake, omission, or even committing an act of negligence.
Gone are the days when people had fairly open relationships with employers and incident could get them into a scrape, say if they were late back from holiday. If someone is delayed because of an error a travel agent has made, and then ends up in trouble at work and even loses their job, they could be minded to seek compensation.
This is just one example of what indemnity cover would protect you against. It will even pay for the cost of compensation for the other side if it is awarded. All a travel agent firm has to do is decide what level of cover they want, and the larger the company, typically the larger amount of protection they will need. So a firm may want protection up to £0.5 million worth of legal bills, while another may want cover for a million pounds or more.
There are other handy extras attached to most policies, such as public liability, protection if you’re accused of losing or damaging someone’s important documents, cover if you’re accused of unintentional defamation, breach of copyright or confidence, and even cover if an employee is accused of an act of dishonesty.
This means Travel Agent Professional indemnity cover can provide protection from a wide variety of pitfalls, some of which could bring down a business which is not properly prepared.