R10 Baggage protection insurance with FlySafair

Earlier in the week, low cost carrier, FlySafair, launched a Bagggage Insurance Product, underwritten by Chubb Insurance South Africa Limited for only R10. With this product it aims to reduce baggage related incidents and compensation in the event of something going wrong. The R10 premium that covers your personal belongings for up to R10 000.

“While incidents relating to baggage damage are few and far between (less than four per 1000 bags), issues do happen. From an airline’s perspective, these issues are complex because there are a number of parties involved in handling luggage from the point of check-in to the point where it arrives on the carousel on the other side. To manage liabilities around this, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) established the Montreal and Warsaw conventions, under which airlines are required to take limited liability for luggage. We noted this limitation and felt quite strongly that it doesn’t deliver on the type of customer experience we wish to deliver,” stated Kirby Gordon, head of sales and distribution at FlySafair.

Although the airline had already had this feature in place it was reportedly not a good fit for them.

“Firstly, FlySafair customers have the option to save by electing not to take checked-in luggage, but the standard policy was priced to include risk on luggage, so it seemed unfair to us to force customers who wanted the cover, but weren’t taking luggage to take the redundancy. In real terms it’s a few rand only that would be shaved off the premium, but the principle was very important to us.

“The second and biggest part was actually around customers’ experience. The standard liabilities for the airline on damage and pilferage were problematic to us. You’ll note that our colleagues at Mango Airlines were the subject of a consumer watch story where they refused to replace a broken wheel on a suitcase,” added Fly Safair.

While these incidents should always be looked at on a case-by-case basis, because of the legislature, their refusal is actually valid by virtue of the standard liabilities outlined by IATA’s Montreal and Warsaw Conventions.

“Similarly, the compensation you get for missing and damaged goods is ruled by a bizarre system where you are compensated for goods by virtue of their weight. So someone might have a dress worth over a thousand rand stolen from their suitcase along with a bottle of shampoo, and end up getting over compensated for the shampoo but hopelessly under compensated for the dress. In the end the system is a bit blunt and we weren’t happy with treating customers that way, so we wanted to find a better solution,” added the airline.

What you are covered for

FlySafair also offer a travel protection product. “Our Travel Protection offers you a more comprehensive set of protections relating to your reservation, things like delay cover, the need for cancellations, device cover and valuables cover. This now replaces our original product (that had included the baggage cover) and the price has gone down from R30 to R25,” stated Gordon.

The new baggage cover now just protects the checked baggage (actual suitcase and contents) as well as sporting goods that you might check in.

Under the Montreal and Warsaw conventions, airlines are only deemed liable to compensate passengers for essential items expected to be in luggage, such as clothing and toiletries.

Here, ‘Compensation is paid at a standard rate of 20 USD per kilogram and standard weights are set for various items. In addition, the airline is liable for damage to the actual suitcase only in the event that it is completely destroyed; minor damage such as broken handles, zips and wheels are not covered,’ explained Gordon.

How does this offering compare to others on the market?

FlySafair admitted that the offerings on the market are fairly similar. “All Low Cost carriers in SA insure baggage up to R10 000 and the policy wording around it is all pretty much the same,” said Flysafair.

The big difference here however is the fact that you can achieve this cover specifically, without being forced to take the full comprehensive cover set, and you can do so for a very low price, the airline explained.

In addition to all the airline offerings, banks also offer travel insurance as a free benefit when using your credit card to purchase airline tickets. But here too customers are not given the option to acquire specific cover as in the case of this offering.

“While we obviously seek to reduce the number of incidents as far as humanly possible, it’s only reasonable to expect that issues will occur. The idea here is to give our customers the option to have peace of mind for just R10, so that they know if something does go wrong, they are covered,” stated Gordon.

Handy tip: Check out our credit card comparison section to see if the card you are interested in offers travel insurance.