Insurance for skiers all the rage | AspenTimes.com

Insurance for skiers all the rage

Naomi Havlen

Aspen skiers lead the state in purchasing insurance for their season passes, according to a representative from the company that created the policies.”Aspen is our best producer,” said Ron Iverson, president of Skier Insurance Service in Kalispell, Mont. “We have other resorts taking part in the insurance elsewhere in Colorado, but they don’t sell nearly as much as Aspen does.”Iverson attributes this to Aspen’s high season-pass prices, saying that customers appreciate the risk they’re taking when they buy an expensive, nonrefundable ticket and see a need for insurance. He said around 50 or 60 SkierGuard policies were sold through the Aspen Skiing Co. last year. He expects that number to be at least five times greater for the coming ski season.”In Aspen you can buy insurance now this year at the same time you buy a season pass, so with one payment you get them both,” he said.The Skico changed its policy about refunding season passes just before the 2003-04 ski season. Under the old system, if someone broke their leg or otherwise became incapacitated before a cut-off date in February, the Skico would typically issue a pro-rated refund to reflect the number of days left in the season. In exchange for the refund, however, the injured skier had to surrender their pass.SkierGuard insurance, however, now allows injured skiers to receive partial refunds based on the amount of time they’re incapacitated, and still keep skiing. Insurance will cost a season pass holder 6 percent of the price of their pass.Skico salespeople are seeing more people interested in insurance than last season, though specific numbers aren’t yet known, said spokesman Jeff Hanle.Although skiers can buy insurance at the counter when purchasing passes, Hanle said many people are sending in for insurance at a later date.”We offer everyone insurance when they come in to buy the season pass, saying it’s their best chance to get the most money back if they’re injured or something else happens,” he said. “And we have seen increases from the last year in people buying it.”There were a total of nine claims to Skier Insurance Service for their SkierGuard insurance last year in Colorado. Iverson believed the majority of those were from the Aspen area.He said there are three benefits to the policy: getting a partial refund if you can’t use the rest of your ski pass because you are incapacitated, $15,000 worth of coverage for emergency evacuation off the ski slope to the nearest adequate medical facility, and $10,000 of accidental death and dismemberment insurance.Iverson said Skier Insurance Service began as a basic spin-off from other forms of travel insurance, such as cancellation insurance. In the future he said the company hopes to extend coverage to cover loss of use of other options at ski areas – such as the season-long rental of ski lockers, gear or parking spots.”We’re finding that our audience is growing,” he said. “Historically we targeted local skiers, but now people from out of town are buying season passes, especially for resorts near Colorado’s Front Range.”Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com


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