a picture of a white man: wiht the text: 5 tips on CFAR (cancel For Any Reason) coverage from a travel insurance claims veteran

5 tips on CFAR (Cancel For Any Reason) Coverage from a Travel Insurance Claims Veteran | Jeff Rolander | Ep 113

Introducing guest

Today, we have the pleasure of introducing Jeff Rolander, the Vice President of Claims at Faye, a leading travel insurance disruptor. With over three decades of experience in the insurance industry, Jeff is an expert in providing top-notch coverage and care to customers when something goes awry. In his current role at Faye, Jeff oversees a team of professionals dedicated to ensuring that travelers are well taken care of in case of unforeseen circumstances. Before joining Faye, Jeff led a team of 250 associates at Allianz Partners USA, where he oversaw Claims and Emergency Assistance, helping customers with their claims and emergency situations while traveling.

In this episode we discuss:

  • What is trip cancellation insurance – what does it cover and what doesn’t it cover?
  • What is CFAR insurance? What does it cover and what doesn’t it cover?
  • So what are the main differences between the two?
  • Who should consider CFAR insurance – given the significant extra cost?
  • Who is eligible and who is not? 
  • Can you buy CFAR  on its own?
  • Can you buy CFAR whenever you want?
  • What about trips that have multiple payments?
  • What does it cover? What doesn’t it cover?

Learn more about what we talk about

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Brighde: Hello, Jeff. Thank you so much for joining me on The World Vegan Travel Podcast.

Jeff Rolander: Hello. 
Brighde: I am really excited to have you on today to discuss this topic, which is a special form of travel insurance. Now, before listeners, you turn off saying that travel insurance isn’t very interesting, and you know, in some ways it isn’t. But it is a very important part of travel, and something that I’ve noticed is that our travelers, you know, when they decide they’re going to book a trip, they start thinking about traveler insurance, and we are going to be talking today about a very special type of insurance called Cancel for any reason, with a real expert in this area, and you are going to want to know all about this topic. So before we talk about Cancel for any reason insurance, Jeff, why don’t you tell us a little bit about who you are, and your experience and which company you work for, we would love to hear about that. Go ahead.

Jeff Rolander: Great. Thank you very much. Yes, I’m Jeff Rolander. I’m responsible for claims at a new travel insurance provider called Faye, f a y e. I realize coming into this, I’ve got 35 years in insurance, 20 of them, in travel insurance. I was at Alliance’s Partners for most of that time, and actually, I was around when this particular product Cancel for any reason was being developed by different companies, and being put into the marketplace. So I’ve seen it as it’s evolved, and been birthed, and continued to grow. I do think it’s one of the places where there’s maybe a little bit more interesting, it’s a more interesting topic relative to insurance than some others. I agree with you. Insurance is not the most compelling topic perhaps, compared to travel, which has lots of compelling elements to it, but you’re right, insurance 
is important, and I’ve had a long career. Now at Faye where we’re doing things a bit differently, including offering Cancel for any reason to our customers as an add-on. 
Brighde: So, I originally learned about Faye from one of our travelers. She wanted to get Cancel for any reason insurance. We don’t really sell insurance here at World Vegan Travel. I just kind of like, sort of point people in the right direction, and she did some research, and she didn’t go with where we pointed her to, she discovered Faye with Faye travel insurance, and I will tell you,she has been singing your praises. She has been singing your praises. Linda,  she is just so excited to have discovered your product, and as a result, I had a conversation with you guys about what it is that you are doing, and you really are looking to disrupt the travel insurance scene, and I’m excited to learn more about that. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about why Faye is doing something a little bit different in regards to travel insurance.

Jeff Rolander: I’d love to. This is the stuff that I feel really passionately about, I’ll admit. So, insurance in general, and travel insurance in particular, has always been, a bit of a baffling jargon filled mystery for a lot of people. Frankly, I can remember when it was a weird little kiosk in the airport where you slid a $20 bill, and you ended up with a policy that covered you if the airline crashed.

So I’m dating myself a bit. That’s evolved substantially from there into a product that frankly, over the last couple of decades has evolved into something that is still a lengthy jargon filled product that people have trouble understanding. And at Faye, what we wanted to do was to really simplify that and orient it much more closely towards the customer’s needs.

So we built a product that’s much more focused on addressing their specific needs. We worked hard on building that product offering out. We have a base product that we think covers 

90% of what customers need, and then a few add-ons that can be applied in order to round out for the remaining 10%. So we are really happy with the product. Then 

we looked at the tools that we could provide that would really help customers. We have an app that we’re really proud of. I think we’re leading in the space relative to people being able to file claims on apps, getting notified about their flight delays, and other potential problems that they might have and be able to avoid by being notified promptly through that app.

So we’re really proud of those tools. And then the last piece is the service. Instead of really just a reimbursement service where you collect a whole stack of paperwork, mail it to some office, who knows where, here back in weeks or months. We really want to focus on being able to provide people with on-time payments when something happens to them.

For instance, if their bags are delayed, let’s put some money into their Faye wallet, which is a cool little device we have through the app so that they could pay for some essential items as things are happening rather than wait for this long reimbursement. That’s an example of the kind of service that we’re looking to provide throughout the value chain from purchase, all the way to thosecustomers who have claims. So there’s a little bit about Faye.
Brighde: Yeah. Yeah. Something that, our traveler Linda, she was so excited about was, she became a little bit concerned about her trip to South Africa, which she ended up coming on and she had a great old time. But she was a little bit concerned because there was some stuff in the news that was going on about the load shedding, the electricity situation in South Africa,and she was thinking that she might actually cancel her trip of, you know, just she was exploring options, let’s just say that. And, she actually had CFAR insurance, but you know, of course we gave her some information that helped her with the decision as well. But she was also really astonished with the level of information one of your representatives gave to her about this as well, and that really made her happy and excited.
She actually wanted to schedule a call with me to just say, “I cannot believe what this company is doing. You have to hear about this.” So, you know, it was just really, really funny. And another thing that you know, I’m shocked at, is that I’ve called you guys a couple of times and you actually reply, answer the phone within like 10 rings, ,which is kind of almost unheard of, and the level of information and knowledge that your staff has. Anyway, we could talk about this for ages. Let’s get into our topic, which is Cancel for any reason insurance, and like what it actually is, and who might really want to know about this. So, why don’t you tell us a little bit about trip cancelation insurance, because that’s kind of different to Cancel for any reason insurance, what it generally covers and what it generally doesn’t cover. Of cause, it depends on the company, but maybe you could speak in general terms about trip cancelation insurance.

Jeff Rolander: Of course and yes, there are elements where the companies are very similar, so I’ll try to keep it with the places where the product looks the same or very similar, no matter who you go to. So 
trip cancelation coverage pays for non-refundable trip expenses for a list of about usually 13 to 15 covered reasons.
So those covered reasons will be things like illness, injury, illness or injury of a family member or a business partner or things like that. Some other things that might happen. Severe weather that causes an airport to shut down, for instance, would be covered. and then gets into even smaller use cases like having to report to court, or having a job commitment, might be covered under some policies. The financial default of a carrier could be covered under some policies. the point is that it covers prepaid, non-refundable trip expenses for any of those covered reasons, but unfortunately for only those covered reasons.
If you have an illness of a family member, I hate to even say use examples like that because it sounds awful. But if something like that happens, you would be reimbursed a hundred percent of your prepaid, non-refundable trip costs under the conventional trip cancelation coverage offered by many carriers. 
Brighde: Okay. So it sounds to me like trip cancelation is really good for people who want to protect their investment, and want to get coverage for, the most, not extreme, but the most common ways that people who really might have wanted to go on that trip, are prevented from going on that trip because of something that comes up.

So, that’s a really important 

insurance to have, especially if your trip 

is a lot of money. So what is CFAR, Cancel for any reason insurance. What does it cover, and what doesn’t it cover?

Jeff Rolander: Yep. So Cancel for any reason is sometimes called Cancel anytime. The names are slightly different, but the concept is the same, is a little bit of the inverse of that. So it’s still the place where it’s the same, is that it’s still paying for prepaid, non-refundable trip expenses. But instead of paying for a list of things and only for things that are on that list, it pays for anything. So in fact, you don’t even have to tell us what it is. If you’re eligible to buy Cancel for any reason coverage, and you say, “I just don’t feel like it. I’ve lost my interest, and I just don’t feel like going anymore,” that’s fine. You will get paid under the Cancel for any reason coverage. Whereas, obviously, maybe to me obviously, but, just changing your mind is not on that list of reasons under the conventional trip cancelation coverage. So 
that’s the primary difference. In the first example, just these things, and in the second example for Cancel for any reason,it’s the universe. 

Brighde: Okay. So I’m thinking that it would be really good if you maybe had an unwell companion animal. like a pet dog or pet cat that was unwell, and you wanted to plan to go on a trip, but you wouldn’t go if something bubbled up with your cat or dog a week or so before, or two weeks before, and you were like, “no, no, I want to make sure that, I can stay and be with my animals.” So yeah, this, I think that’s a good reason. Would there be any other really good reasons, like practical reasons? 
Jeff Rolander: There are a few that come to mind. People that are anxious about traveling, and know that they want to take this trip. They’ve bought the trip, they’re planning to go,but for whatever reason, 
anxious travelers and 
Brighde: Yep. 
Jeff Rolander: they might be canceling. That would be an example. Your work schedule is a bit in flux, and you might be scheduled to work unexpectedly. While job loss may be covered under some of those conventional policies, just being required to work, is a difficult risk for companies to manage, so that would be only covered under Cancel for any reason. That’d be another example. Further example would be a large group. If you’re taking a cruise with a big family reunion, and there’s a ton of people going, but you really want to hang out with cousin Eddie, and cousin Eddie decides he’s not going, coming back to my example, the list of reasons Cousin Eddie deciding he’s not going, is not gonna be on that regular list of 13 or 15 reasons. Cancel for any reason will help you out with a situation like that.
And I guess, the last one, and the one that we’ve seen a lot of interest in because of Covid, it is Covid itself. So people who have concerns about traveling for covid, Cancel for any reason can help them. Covid itself, having Covid, is typically now covered under conventional policies, but if you’re contemplating a trip to a place that has now become a hotbed of Covid, and you’re afraid of getting Covid, that would be covered best under Cancel for any reason coverage. 
Brighde: That’s definitely what I have heard from some of our customers. Some of our guests, they’re looking to cover themselves for that reason. I’m thinking of another situation. Tell me if this would be covered or not. A few years ago we were running a trip to France, and as you probably know, in France, they very often have protests. There were strikes, and as a result, about four or five days before the trip started, it was starting to get a lot of coverage in the news, and there was some, a little bit of localized vandalism and violence in that area. But, you know, we weren’t going to cancel the trip because of that, because we knew that we could avoid those areas. But a couple of travelers, they did decide to cancel the trip a few days before, and I don’t think that trip cancelation insurance would’ve kicked in for that, but Cancel for any reason insurance would’ve kicked in because there were no government warnings telling potential travelers not to go to France at that time. So, had they had CFAR insurance, and maybe they did, they never said, that would’ve kicked in. It’s another really good reason for potential violence or protests or strikes that’s happening in a country, even though there’s not necessarily a real danger, just because you’re feeling anxious about it, is that right?
Jeff Rolander: You’re absolutely right. Another perfect example, you know, feeling concerned about those kinds of things, is very understandable and wanting to avoid those kind of things is really one of the reasons why Cancel for any reason exists. You’re right that a strike, for instance, of the airline workers or the airport workers, or the train workers or something like that, that specifically disrupts your schedule, may be covered under the conventional travel insurance policy, but that’s a fairly high bar. If you’re interested in something where you can just avoid that situation, you just don’t want to be part of it, you can buy that Cancel for any reason product, You’ll get 75% or some percentage of your money back. You can apply that towards a future trip that will be more to your liking. 
Brighde: I love it. Fantastic. I think we’ve talked really about the type of people who should consider CFAR insurance because it’s not a cheap add-on, is it. It’s usually quite an expensive thing, as you can imagine, because you have this power to just like, cancel your trip on a whim, so to speak. So like who are the people that really should consider this kind of insurance given this significant cost? 

Jeff Rolander: Right. You’re absolutely right. It is typically 40 to 60% higher than that base plan just because you’re getting so much more broad coverage instead of those reasons you’re getting anything. So that’s important for customers. Customers also should be careful. The only customers who are buying within 14 days of their initial trip deposit, this is under the Faye plan and under most plans I’m familiar with as well by the way, you have to buy it within those 14 days in order to be eligible. Which is actually kind of understandable because if this was offered anytime, the only people who would buy it are people who realize that they need to cancel their trip,and that, the economics of that doesn’t work. So it’s understandable. So you have that 14 days. The other requirement is that you cancel more than 48 hours before your trip departs. So all of those things kind of establish who is eligible, and who’s the best candidate for buying Cancel for any reason coverage. 
Brighde: Why is there that 48 hour window? Like you can’t, you know, just not turn up for the flight, or
why is it that you can’t change your mind five hours before the trip departs?
Jeff Rolander: I think it’s really just a way to manage the risk effectively between the 14 day window to purchase, and then having a bit of a window so that people who are well thought out are canceling for reasons that are, on a whim. I think that’s why that window exists on the back- end in order to also establish some kind of parameters for the risk. 
Brighde: Exactly. And this is what I always say to people, even though it can feel a little overwhelming, it’s a really good idea to be familiar with these conditions, these terms, so that you can, not mess up, and feel like you can just cancel like one hour before. You should know that. And that’s something that I really like about Faye because when you go onto the website, I really love how you have this kind of sliding bar where you can kind of put in different amounts of money, of that you would like to ensure your trip for.
Let’s say you’ve got a $5,000 trip, and then you can kind of like adjust it based on what you want. And then of course you can add on CFAR insurance. And there’s quite a few other little add-ons that Faye 
suggests that you can put onto this base insurance as well, and you can really get a good idea and
feel like you can compare apples to apples a lot more with Faye’s interface. That’s something that I really like about Faye’s product.  So who is eligible for CFAR insurance and who isn’t? Because I don’t think Canadians are eligible. 

Jeff Rolander: I’m afraid not. And that’s not any hostility to our northern neighbors by any means, but it’s, our licensing, and this is typical of most carriers. Our licensing allows us to sell to US citizens only. So those are the only folks who are eligible, and it has to be again, within those  14 days of your initial trip deposit in order to be eligible to purchase. 

Brighde: And if I understand, well, for some reason, certain travelers who reside in certain states are not 
eligible to get CFAR insurance. Which states are those and why is that?
Jeff Rolander: That’s right. The why I may struggle with somewhat, other than to be able to say, and New York is the biggest example, unfortunately we can’t, and I don’t believe there’s anyone selling Cancel for any reason coverage in New York. And that is because it’s just not allowed there. To dive into the why, it’s not allowed there. I would probably have to refer to others to figure that out. It’s an excellent question. I don’t mean to make light of it. I’d love to understand better about why that is not allowed there, but unfortunately it’s not. 

Brighde: Right. So I’m thinking that most of the time when people put their details into a portal or to speak to their travel advisor, and you know, the travel advisor or the portal will, website with Faye will ask where you are resident, and then it will just not offer it as an option I’m guessing.

Jeff Rolander: That’s exact. It’s definitely correct for Faye. So if you are a New York resident, it won’t be offered to you, and by the way, actually, for any of these cancelation coverages, just to be clear, if you’re within three days of your trip, we’re not going to sell you trip cancelation anyway, because it doesn’t make sense for you to spend money on something for a trip that’s gonna happen in a couple days anyway. So yes. With Faye,you’re not going to be offered that. I think most reputable companies will make sure that you’re aware of those parameters and not allow you to purchase it. If there is an accidental purchase,then you want to contact the carrier and find out what happened and get themto make it right for you. 
Brighde: Something that I think people might be interested to know, is whether you can buy CFAR on its own, like I’m thinking for example, let’s say I use my credit card insurance, and you know, I’ve scoped it out, and I’m happy with that insurance for the trip that I’m about to do. Can I just purchase CFAR insurance on its own? 

Jeff Rolander: I don’t believe anyone is offering it on its own. I know Faye does not. For Faye it is an add-on to our comprehensive product that covers you before the trip for cancelation reasons or for Cancel for any reason, and then a suite of post departure products like trip delay, and medical, and baggage, and things like that. So it comes with those things and unfortunately, it’s not a standalone. 
Brighde: Yeah, that’s what I’ve noticed too. It’s always an add-on rather than a standalone thing, so you have to be happy with the rest of the policy that they’re offering, and then choose to add it on as well. 
Okay. It’s a 
Jeff Rolander: good point. 
Brighde: Interesting. 
Jeff Rolander: It comes down to being very, very satisfied and confident that the base product that you’re buying is worthwhile, and worth adding something like that onto. 
Brighde: So something that’s bubbled up with some of our travelers in the past, is for example, our trips, they usually require multiple payments. let’s say an initial deposit and then another payment of, let’s say $3,000 and another payment of $2,000, how do you suggest, given that Cancel for any reason insurance is so expensive or significantly expensive. So what about trips that have multiple payments, where you pay for the trip over a period of eight months with a few different thousand dollars per payment. Maybe you want to make sure that you are not buying insurance or Cancel for any reason insurance on the full amount because you haven’t actually paid that yet. Like how can you kind of manage that?
Jeff Rolander: Sure. So I guess that brings a couple thoughts to mind. So the one important thing to, I’ve said it before, but important to remember, buy it within the 14 days of that initial trip deposit. Be sure you get in under that wire so that you have it. Depending on the schedule of payments, and depending on your carrier, there may be a way to change your coverage amount as you increase your payments.
It’s really the safest bet, and what we actually recommend people do, is to buy it for the amount that they’re going to end up paying for the trip. It won’t be more expensive to insure the entirety of the trip in the beginning. I think the important thing to emphasize is to be sure you get in on under that 14 day to begin with. There are some carriers, and we can accommodate customers with this, who may want to 
increase their coverage after they’ve bought their coverage, and that’s allowable for a certain period of time. But the best thing to do, really, is to buy the insurance for the full amount of the trip cost at the beginning. That avoids unpleasantness like,”I forgot to increase it, and now I’ve got to claim and I don’t have enough coverage.” I’ve seen those problems happen too many times. Our best advice is to start with insuring the full trip cost at the beginning. 

Brighde: Yeah, I think that’s really great advice. I’m thinking about one of our trips, our Rwanda trips that’s quite expensive, like it’s $15,000 a person, and it starts off with a deposit of a couple of thousand, and then, for further payments as we go, which is fine, but you know, and a Cancel for any reason insurance, if you’ve got two people going on $15,000, that’s probably gonna be about with CFAR, gonna be about, I don’t know, 6,000, $7,000 on insurance premiums. Just a guess off the top of my head. But if people know that they can be diligent in making sure that they update it, as every time they make a payment, that would be okay.But I think you’re probably right. making sure that you insure it all from the get-go, is probably the best, best advice for sure. You mentioned that Cancel for any reason insurance only covers 75% of the trip costs. Why is that?
Jeff Rolander: So, it’s again, another way to manage that risk. With such a broad coverage, there are a couple, levers that you can see that are being used to manage that risk, and that 75% is one of them. There are other companies that vary. I think there they go as low as 50%. I think I’ve seen as high as 80 or 90%. Faye’s coverage is at 75%. I think it’s also relevant to remember that, that is for non-refundable trip costs. So, and to our previous conversation, if you have some of those trip costs that are already fully refundable, and this is not just a Cancel for any reason comment, there is no reason to insure those.
So if you have an airline ticket that is fully refundable, maybe that’s not part of something that you want to insure. So yes, so Cancel for any reason with Faye, and it’s in the range of all the other carriers, pay 75% of those non-refundable trip costs.
Brighde: This is a really important thing that we should just reiterate is there’s no point insuring for a, an element of your trip that is fully refundable.So if your hotel is going to be, let’s say $2,000, but it’s fully refundable, then why would you insure for that? Why would you ensure for that, whether it’s trip cancelation or Cancel for any reason, insurance? And if so, you know, before you go travel insurance 
shopping, the consumer should really be looking at the elements of their trip. Their plane, their tour cost, if they have them, their hotel, all of these kinds of things,and look at them all, and look at the cancelation policies. And it could be that the entire trip that you are taking is maybe $10,000, but you only really need to cover for 

Jeff Rolander: $6,000, because it’s only $6,000 that’s not refundable, and that will make a huge difference to your premium. You are so correct, and it’s exactly on point. Those things that are fully refundable really don’t need to be insured. The only thing I’d add to your very valid comments are, it’s good to be careful of some things that are advertised as fully refundable, but are actually fully refundable only for a period of time. So fully  refundable within 24 hours of purchase doesn’t mean fully refundable. 
So, I’d love to ask about if a trip is postponed for some reason. I’m thinking, for example, during our covid times when we had to postpone a trip twice from 2020 to 2021, and then from 2021 to 2022. We were postponing the trip rather than offering refunds at that time. So,I’m thinking about people who have invested a lot in their travel insurance. Is there any way to kind of like change the coverage dates before the trip goes ahead? Is that something that can often be done with travel insurance?

Jeff Rolander: So the short answer to your question is yes, and the more complete answer is unfortunately a little more complicated. But I think it also reflects some flexibility that we and some other carriers have. So, within 14 days, anything can be changed. You can get your full money back, no questions asked. That’s very simple. For customers who have a change of dates for a trip that they’ve planned themselves, they’re planning to go to Morocco the first week of November, and they’re going in the first week of December, most insurance companies, and us included, can handle that kind of change very easily up until before they depart. Changes after one departs are typically not allowed, and unfortunately not allowed under Faye, because that; now we get into risk that’s not very manageable. So then I guess, the last use case, and kind of the one that you started with, is for people who have trips, but for whom those trips are canceled.Not that they canceled their trips, but something like Covid came up, or the cruise line rescheduled it, or something like that. Typically, insurance companies can move those dates as well, or just give a credit for the policy that they purchased so that you have that when you decide to take that trip later on. You can use that policy then. That’s typically the way that works. 
Brighde: That’s really good. I think a lot of people just feel like their premium that they’ve paid is just null and void. If the trip has been canceled for some reason, or you’ve had to postpone, or the trip dates have changed, or something like that. So I think this is really, really helpful information.Thank you Jeff so much for sharing your knowledge about Cancel for any reason insurance with our listeners. I’m going to be making sure that I link to this episode for in the receipts that our travelers get whenever they book a tour with us so that they can make sure they know everything there is to know about Cancel for any reason as soon as they book the trip so they make sure they can hit that 14 day window. Thank you, Jeff. Thank you so much. And can you tell us again how travelers can learn a little bit about Faye and what it is you guys are doing?
Jeff Rolander: We would love for them to go to www.withfaye, w i t h f a y e.com. We’ve got a website that’s made by some folks that I’m astounded by because I think it looks great, and it has a ton of useful information. We’d invite anyone to go explore that, learn more about us. If you have any questions, you can reach us.You’ll reach real human beings. You might reach me,and we’ll be happy to talk to you about any questions that you have and get you on your way. 
Brighde: Thank you, Jeff. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today.
Jeff Rolander: Absolutely. Thank you.


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