A new cruise insurance product from Holiday Extras promises to give agents more confidence when packaging up their own deals.

With Complete Cruise Solution basic commission now reduced to 5% delegates at the Hays Independence Group UK conference were told that dynamic packaging cruise would help them make up for lost income.

With some cruise agents, like new Hays IG member Imagine Cruise, specialising in dynamic packaging, the trend is set to grow despite last year’s Icelandic ash cloud crisis exposing agents to compensation claims from customers.

The new insurance product will be offered by Holiday Extras as both a consumer policy agents can sell to customers and a corporate policy that agents can use to protect themselves in the event that they have to find replacement flights or refund customers.

Hays IG members will be using the cover that has been devised to take account of most eventualities including airspace closures, the cost of providing new flights in the event of a delay or a flight being redirected and ultimately the cost of refunding the entire trip if the customer cannot get to the ship.

Hays Travel commercial manager Andrea Kendal told agents: “In order to earn decent margins and to differentiate ourselves from the competition we need to be dynamically packaging more cruises but with that does come more risks.

“Unfortunately cruise lines are not as accommodating as bed banks who give free cancellation up to the date of departure. We started conversations some months ago in terms of getting a cruise protection insurance.

“We started off with a consumer policy but then we realised it’s not the consumer that needs to be protected it’s us as a business because if we are acting as a tour operator we need to be replacing the cost of flights.”

Hays has been working with cruise specialist IG members to try to make sure the policy does cover very eventuality that might mean a customer is not able to get to the port of departure.

Holiday Extras’ head of insurance Andrea Clayton said the consumer policy covers for cancellation up to the value of £25,000 and will be available in increments of £1,000.

She said the policy would cover eventualities like a lowcost flight change meaning the customer is not able to get to the departure port and needs to book a new flight to catch the ship elsewhere.

It also covers for the non arrival of luggage and the cost of buying clothes on the ship during the holiday. Clayton said the cover, which has been in development for nearly a year, will be available in two weeks.