SALT LAKE CITY—Technology can streamline any number of hotel operations these days. From booking to marketing to housekeeping to guest services to accounting, technology is there to lend a helping hand to hoteliers. There’s nothing that technology doesn’t touch these days—and that includes insurance.
InsuraGuest Inc. is a SaaS company that developed InsurTech, a proprietary platform to deliver insurance products to end users in both the B2B and B2C market. With a focus on the hotels and resorts sector, the company’s technology platform integrates with a hotel’s property management system to help transfer exposure liability by offering a specialized hotel guest protection policy. Through this program, hotel guests can benefit from potential accident and loss coverage during their stay. This also serves as a revenue generator for the hotel.
“Just by pure design of what we do, hotels are more susceptible to lawsuits and liability because we are open to the public. Hotels and resorts with pools, golf courses, casinos and restaurants face even more liability,” said Roger Bloss, CEO, Cal-Vegas Ltd., which owns and manages lodging facilities throughout the U.S. Bloss is now an advisory board member and consultant for InsuraGuest.
“InsuraGuest becomes the hotel’s first line of defense, which enables the hotels to transfer certain exposures to the InsuraGuest carrier by offering a specialized hotel guest protection policy to each registered guest,” he said.
Bloss noted that this type of protection is more important now than ever. “Thirty years ago, if there was litigation between a hotel and a guest, any publicity or public knowledge was minimal,” he said. “Today, because of social media, thousands—if not millions—will know and, regardless of the outcome, the publicity will not be favorable to the hotel. So, not only can liability be financially damaging to a property, it can destroy its reputation.”
Bloss became aware of InsuraGuest earlier this year. “I had the pleasure of meeting Doug Anderson, chairman and CEO of InsuraGuest, and his team,” he said. “They told me about their business and their roadmap for the future, and I was immediately intrigued because they were taking a product everyone needs—insurance—and innovating it specifically for the hotel industry. Insurance has been around for hundreds of years, but no one is doing what InsuraGuest is doing.”
Here’s how it works: InsuraGuest is tied directly into the PMS. When a reservation is made, it automatically charges the guest $4.95 per night when they check into the hotel and covers them until checkout. “Plus, 10% of the cost goes back to the property as revenue, which could be used for room maintenance, other premium payments, or incentives to their employees,” Bloss said.
Coverage for all registered guests includes up to $2,500 of lost or stolen goods; up to $25,000 for accidental medical; and up to $5,000 for accidental death or dismemberment (think your child shutting his finger in the door).
“Properties are encouraged to inform and educate their guests about InsuraGuest at check-in, on the website, in the rooms and throughout the property. This is at the discretion of the property, and guests may refuse the coverage at the time of check in,” Bloss said.
The industry veteran—who has more than 40 years of experience in hospitality—plans to offer InsuraGuest at all Alternative Hospitality properties. Bloss is CEO/president of Alternative Hospitality Inc., a division of MJ Holdings, and is currently developing the 150-room Coachill Inn Resort in Desert Hot Springs, CA, the first of eight properties currently in the pipeline to include a dispensary, wellness goods and services to educate guests about the health-enhancing aspects of cannabis.
“Our first Coachill Inn is expected to open next year and it will have InsuraGuest,” he said, noting that feedback from guests has been positive at hotels where InsuraGuest is currently active. “It is insurance that covers them and their families during their stay—who wouldn’t want that kind of protection just in case an accident happens?”
Elaborating on that point, Bloss said, “Guests can be assured that should they have a medical mishap or lose some personal property, they will be covered. If a guest slips and falls at the hotel and needs medical attention, it’s likely that the medical facility they go to will be out-of-network and coverage, if any, will be minimal. But with InsuraGuest, they can receive up to $25,000 without having to file with their medical or personal insurance.”
And, as a hotelier, in addition to the potential to increase revenue and minimize reputation risks, he sees other benefits. “Personal Property & Financial Loss, Accidental Medical Expense, and Accidental Death & Dismemberment may have limitations when covered by the hotel, a credit card or by a homeowner’s or renter’s policy,” he said. “The InsuraGuest’s Specialized Hotel Guest Protection Policy is considered a direct to consumer policy that helps the hotel and the guest with certain mishaps that may happen during the guest’s stay. These mishaps can be easily filed and processed by the hotel manager on InsuraGuest’s online platform. Hoteliers who invest in InsuraGuest often see a reduction in their overall primary insurance costs.”
What types of properties is this right for? “InsuraGuest is a great product for midscale to resort properties, with 80 rooms or greater and three stars or above,” Bloss said. “You have to weigh the $4.95 a night charge with your ADR, but even if I was an economy hotel in a high traffic area, I would definitely consider it.
“I always tell people who are starting out—prepare for the unexpected,” he continued. “Just like a good business owner should have a three- to six-month cash reserve in place just in case things go bad for a while, you need to prepare for liability and lawsuits. InsuraGuest will work directly with hotel owners to determine if this product is right for them based on location, ADR, amenities, services and many more factors.” HB