INTERVIEW – Specialist in a cancellation guarantee that has become key with the Covid, Mimat is a new player in travel insurance. The young 100% digital shoot intends to differentiate itself by emphasizing responsiveness and service, with 25 reasons for reimbursement within 48 hours and without deductible, says its co-founder, Axel Calandre.
LE FIGARO. – Why are you entering the travel insurance market?
Axel CALANDRE. – Three topics emerged from the preliminary investigations we conducted. First, the opacity of travel insurance contracts, which do not always allow policyholders to know exactly what they are covered for. Then, the complexity of the reimbursement procedures, which often take the form of an obstacle course, with numerous supporting documents to be provided. Finally, tourism professionals for their part pointed to a lack of transparency in access to their customers’ claims files, limiting their ability to respond to their requests for reimbursement follow-up… And arousing their dissatisfaction.
How do you position yourself?
We have invested heavily in our technology platform which enables an optimal customer experience. The traveler takes out our cancellation insurance directly during their booking process on their tour operator’s website. He instantly receives an email summarizing the 25 reasons for insured cancellations, with a link to click on to trigger the guarantee in the event of a problem. He can also subscribe after booking. Everything is simple and clear. And without franchise. We are contractually committed to examining cancellation files in less than 24 hours and to making the refund in less than 48 hours. In most cases, a single supporting document to upload is sufficient, two maximum. Our online services are available in several languages (French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, etc.), as is our telephone reception. We think it’s painful enough to have to cancel a trip: our goal is really to save travelers double pain by making this step as smooth as possible. Especially since in 99% of cases, they unfortunately have a good reason to cancel: family, professional, health…
Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the take-up rate for cancellation insurance has been growing: on average, between 45% and 60% of travelers choose it, sometimes peaking at 80%.
Was the time right to get started, in the midst of the Covid-19 health crisis?
It’s true that embarking on travel cancellation insurance in the midst of a pandemic could seem risky, given the surge in cancellations linked to Covid: contact case, positive test, fever at the airport… But it’s precisely because travelers have never needed more reassurance and travel protection than we think now is the right time. Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the take-up rate for cancellation insurance has been growing: on average, between 45% and 60% of travelers choose it, sometimes peaking at 80%. The further the trip is in time, the more they subscribe to it, in order to have peace of mind. With the pandemic, the use of this insurance has logically also increased, but as it has been done in the same proportions, the economic balance remains certain. As a broker, we work with several trusted insurers to find the most suitable contract for each situation: Mutuaide, Seyna or CMAM.
What are the advantages of cancellation insurance? Is it all the more necessary today?
I would say that the cancellation insurance has always been useful, but that it ended up being overused by too much opacity and complexity. For two years, it has found a real renewed interest with the public. No tourism player can sell a trip today without offering cancellation insurance. Our 200 partners were not mistaken. We mainly work on green tourism in France, notably with the Gîtes de France network, the Camping.com platform, Voyage d’O, Vinotrip, as well as numerous private campsites. At the start of the health crisis, many found themselves helpless not being able to respond to their customers and not knowing the status of the pending cancellation files, which sometimes took weeks to manage. With just a few clicks on our platform, they now have access to all their customer files in real time. Ending up with disgruntled customers because of insurance is what we try to avoid for our partners.
Cancellation insurance represents between 5 and 6% of the price of a trip.
So travel becomes more expensive because of insurance?
Since the first confinement, the French have canceled their planned holidays on average twice. Admittedly, cancellation insurance represents between 5 and 6% of the price of a trip. But it makes it possible to sanctuary this unique moment of the holidays, which is even more vital in the context in which we live. No hazard should be able to make a family bear the financial burden of a cancellation. This is the whole purpose of cancellation insurance.