Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I get press releases, Volume 17: For people whose vacation plans call for getting killed

We've been watching a lot of the Travel Channel over the past few days at the 19 Minutes home office. I don't often find myself on Channel 56, because the programmers at the Travel Channel seem to think competitive poker is somehow a travel issue. Until recently, the only reason to stop on the surf between Iron Chef (Ch. 53) and Australian Rules Football (Ch. 58) was America's perkiest TV host, Samantha Brown, who somehow manages to gush over the spa treatment at the Greenbrier Resort without sounding like the most obnoxious human being in history. In fact, she's pretty likable.

But the addition of Michael Palin's "Himalaya" series has me, if nothing else, checking the TV listings. As with Palin's previous travelogues, such as "Full Circle" and "Pole to Pole", the episodes are filled with snappy narration, good humor, and an unparalleled window into places most of us only wistfully dream of visiting.

What it's lacking is this important piece of travel advice, which arrived in press release form at 19 Minutes World Media Headquarters:

squaremouth.com: It's Not When You Die, It's Where You Die!

ST. PETE BEACH, Fla., June 28, 2005 -- Technically, for travel insurance, when you die matters also; however, as long as you die after you purchase your policy and before you return from your vacation, it's very definitely where you die that's going to make the difference.

[19 Minutes: Technically, it's always nice to start your press release with a complete sentence also; however, squaremouth.com definitely hasn't hired an English major to write its press releases.]

Of course, we're not dealing with the most pleasant of subjects here, but this tip is for the kids' benefit! My job is to try to educate the traveler to allow them to get the most out of their travel insurance policy, even if it's not them that's going to get it. [19 Minutes: Please welcome today's guest press release writer, former Vice President Dan Quayle!]

Where you die is going to make all the difference to the amount payable. This coverage is usually split into three areas starting with least risk/highest payout.
Oh boy oh boy oh boy... here come the 3 Swell Ways to Die on Vacation!
Air Flight Accident AD&D

AD&D means accidental death and dismemberment. This allows for a payment if you happen to die or lose a couple of limbs as a result of a flight accident. Despite what you may hear on the news, this is always the lowest risk for an insurer, hence they pay the most for this benefit, up to $1,000,000 per person.

The next step down is ...

Common Carrier

This coverage pays in the event of death or dismemberment while you are traveling on any form of public transport. It is a much lower payment as the risk to the insurer is greater, usually $50,000 per person.

The third death benefit you will find on travel insurance policies is ...

Accidental Death (duration of trip)

This means the insurer will pay if you die or suffer loss of limbs during your vacation. This coverage is of course the highest risk and lowest payment, usually in the region of $10,000 to $50,000 per person.
This can lead to only one conclusion, which the Squaremouth folks are only too happy to offer up. Or, as they'd write, "which the Squaremouth folks is only to happy to offer up":

So if you are about to shuffle off your mortal coil while walking down the high street in Grand Cayman, and you have enough strength left, struggle on to a passing bus with your last breath - your kids will thank you for it!
Squaremouth.com, which, surprise(!), is a travel insurance broker, doesn't specify whether your next-of-kin should also sue the driver of the passing bus, but you can imagine they'd probably recommend it.

Here at 19 Minutes HQ, we're already envisioning an idea for our next entrepreneurial infomercial: The millions of dollars that can be made by opening travel insurance kiosks at nursing home bus stops.

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