Qatar travel agents call for need to take cover
Insurance scheme needed to ease financial burden on travel agents
Travel agents in Qatar have called for the introduction of a special travel agents insurance policy which could cover agents in the event of any errors or mistakes which commonly end up leaving them out of pocket.
Speaking at a roundtable debate in Doha hosted by Arabian Travel News, agents revealed that they were regularly forced to pay up out of their own pay checks to make up the shortfall on "shortcollections" (if a client is quoted the wrong fare); or to pay off airline Agency Debit Memos (ADMs).
Khurshid Ahmed, assistant manager, Mannai Holidays in Doha said a travel agents insurance scheme could help to ease the financial burden on agents. "The idea of having a professional travel consultant insurance is a very good idea.
"We are faced with a lot of situations where the money ends up coming out of our pocket just to keep the customer and keep up our brand.
"Agency Debit Memos (ADMs) are just one side of it which comes from the airline but we also have to bear the cost when it comes to mishandlings; visa issues; problems at the airport, and short collections which are very, very common - if you quote the wrong fare you cannot go back - the minute you have something quoted or given it to them in black and white you cannot ask them again. So just to keep up some regular customers you need to honour them with that quote."
Darim Mohammed, country manager, Alshamel Travel said such insurance policies were standard practice in other markets: "They have this in the UK - it's called professional indemnity insurance. Basically it covers the staff when they make an error. If it’s a legitimate error then the company can then claim back the costs for that and recover those costs."
Hemant Gupta, regional manager- Travel, AXA Insurance Gulf told Arabian Travel News that he had been seeing demand for a travel agent insurance scheme in the market and is currently working on putting a product together.
"I have been asked for similar product from some agents, and I have requested them to offer some statistics in order to do risk calculation and come up with some desired solutions and insurance produc," he said.
"If this is a good risk for insurance companies than surely we can look into designing a insurance product both on individual or for a company to protect against these Debit notes from various supplies."
Gupta said the cost of the premium would depend on the coverage limit and the risk involed and the policy was likely to be called "Suppliers Liability policy"