All ground excursion operators working with cruise lines must carry liability insurance from a reliable carrier with at least an A- rating from A.M. Best's Consumer Insurance Center. The rating guarantees that your insurance company will be able to meet its financial obligations if necessary. An insurance company with a lower rating is not acceptable.
A.M. Best analyzes the credit rating and standards of each insurance company. The annual balance sheet and business profile are reviewed along with the businesses that are covered.
A.M. Best Ratings and Why It Matters to Excursion OperatorsAll cruise lines want to know the name of the insurance carrier that covers your ground tour and transportation services before they contract with your company. This is one of the excursion insurance requirements. If a mishaps occurs to a cruise ship passenger on a land tour, the cruise line does not want to be responsible for any medical costs. The cruise line may have to refund part or all of the passenger's payment and that of the traveling companion if the injured party's cruise is interrupted.
Cruise ship passengers are encouraged to buy travel insurance offered by the cruise line or another insurance company but it is not mandatory. The trip insurance will cover lost luggage, medical emergencies and cruise interruption but the issue of responsibility may arise before any reimbursement is made. The cruise line's excursion insurance requirements expect all tour and transportation companies to be responsible for their participants.
Excursion Insurance, member of the NSI Insurance Group, meets these excursion insurance requirements with their customized policies. The A.M. Best Company, founded in 1899, gives Excursion Insurance an A- rating. This third-party evaluation means the insurance company is financially solvent and able to cover any incurred expenses.
The Excursion Insurance Operator's Liability Insurance Program is underwritten by Lloyds of London. This covers personal injury and property damage to tourists in the care of a tour operator or ground transportation service.
Different countries, different laws and insurance regulations
Cruise ships travel to foreign countries and most ships are registered under foreign flags. Passengers come from all countries including the United States where liability insurance is very important. Each cruise line carries its own liability insurance to cover passengers while they are aboard the ship. This coverage does not extend to land tours.
Many cruise passengers are not aware of this. It is likely to be the passenger who declines trip insurance who has an accident on a land tour or who loses a wallet and passport while on a shore excursion. This passenger may hold the tour operator responsible for the injury or loss. The passenger does not care if liability laws are different in Mexico, Italy or Australia.
Cruise line excursion insurance requirements include tour operators dealing with unhappy passengers. This involves the passengers who were disappointed in the shore excursion and want a refund. If they signed up and paid with the cruise line, they will probably be reimbursed by the cruise ship purser's office. The cruise line will expect the tour operator to cover the reimbursement.
Luggage can be lost, stolen or damaged while in transit between the cruise ship and a hotel or airport. The transportation company is held responsible by the cruise line. This can be an expensive problem for the transporter.
Cruise lines have learned to prepare for the unexpected. Tour operators must also be prepared for the unexpected with insurance for any mishap.