It's likely that you have never heard of MedjetAssist. Fortunately, that's because you’ve probably never had to be medically evacuated to a hospital when you were injured or sick while traveling.
However, the risk-and-protection industry is booming. Businesses like MedjetAssist recognize that there is a lot of "you never know what might happen" to consider.
Medjet’s biggest challenge is convincing people they should spend money to protect their lives while they're on holiday. They say you probably shouldn’t rely on your health insurance to cover your back.
This newer protection industry is finding its place in the market. MedjetAssist explains that it is not an insurance company. Rather, it offers peace of mind.
MedjetAssist helps members who are hospitalized more than 150 miles from their homes. It guarantees that no matter where a member is in the world, if they require continued hospitalization, the company will transfer them to the hospital of their choice for no added charge.
No one really wants to have to think about this kind of thing, especially before a trip. Yet, more than 50 million consumers have no qualms about protecting their cars in case of emergency with an AAA membership. Most consumers don't think of doing the same for their bodies. They don't act to protect their health and well-being while they're on the road for business or away on vacation.
Instigating a paradigm shift in consumer thinking has been no easy task for MedjetAssist’s president and CEO, Roy Berger. Most travelers don’t even know such a product exists. I spoke to Berger about how he’s been increasing his business despite consumer ignorance.
How do you educate the public to buy a service that they don't think they need or don’t know about?
It’s a two-pronged approach. First, almost everyone knows someone firsthand who has had an accident or illness when they were traveling. While it's statistically small, it happens all the time.
Second, we try to encourage [customers'] foresight. [Compare] returning to one’s family and physician at home for virtual pennies to the out-of-pocket cost for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation.
We are selling peace of mind. Of course the best sales [pitch works on] the hope that you never need us. But if you do, we are there and in play to manage a situation 24/7.
How do you change the minds of consumers without badgering them with fear and too much information?
It’s not our style to badger or scare. We use personal testimonials from Medjet members who perhaps thought the same as the naysayers and now they speak for our results. They are forever grateful for the service and the care they received. Information in this case becomes our tonic.
Why do you think health insurance and at-home protection is easier for the consumer to digest and purchase than a service like MedjetAssist?
I think those are easier to comprehend, primarily because travel assistance is a niche product.... We understand this and count on information and education as our primary sales tool. Our membership includes domestic benefits as well, which is rare in travel coverage and not something many give much thought to.
It's not insurance, but rather extended protection. But to a buying public that's skeptical about the industry, it feels like insurance. How do you respond?
We explain the membership concept. We ask no health questions to those under age 75. We have no adventure-travel exclusions, co-pays or cost limitations. There are no claim forms, no reimbursements, no out-of-pocket deductibles.
The benefit of Medjet membership is that we handle the whole process. It is seamless to our members and there are never any additional charges after a membership fee is paid. We [pitch] ourselves as AAA for the body.
How does your branding make the consumer feel safe trusting an unfamiliar company like MedjetAssist?
A wide array of satisfied members use the service. Those are our primary testimonials. AARP has chosen us to be its provider in this marketplace. [So] has the National Football League for its annual international game, as well as the LPGA and many state and national medical associations. Professional golfer Jim Furyk now endorses us, too.
Image credit: RegencyTravel.net