“We lost our entire vacation”

By | February 24th, 2009

Kay Schroll says she lost $6,820 — the price of two cruises — when she bought travel insurance through Legendary Journeys, but then had to cancel her vacations for health reasons. Her case is just one of many that have landed on my desk since the bankruptcy of Prime Travel Protection, the Colorado company that offered these unlicensed policies.

Florida authorities are now investigating travel agents who sold or gave Prime Travel Protection to their clients.

Schroll had booked a 14-day Spain and Western Mediterranean cruise and a 17-day Panama Canal itinerary.

For the first cruise, our agent sold us what she claimed to be travel insurance through a company called Traveler Protection Services, later called Prime Travel Protection. For the second cruise, our agent sold us travel insurance through Prime Travel Protection.

We had to cancel both cruises for health reasons. My husband was diagnosed with bladder cancer and was undergoing weekly treatments during the time of the first scheduled trip. Shortly before time for our second trip, I experienced severe abdominal pains and was going through various tests and was on antibiotics, with additional tests scheduled. It was necessary to cancel trip number two for medical reasons, also. Travel insurance should have covered both of these cancellations.

It turns out Prime Travel Protection wasn’t travel insurance. In fact, a few months after we paid Legendary Journeys $602 for our “policies,” Prime Travel Protection went bankrupt, and we lost our entire vacation.

We have tried to contact Prime Travel Protection. Whenever we called, we were initially told they can’t answer because of “heavy volume,” and now we’re told they are in the process of liquidating. We’re upset at our agency for selling us what appears to be bad insurance.

According to Florida regulators, Prime Travel Protection wasn’t authorized to sell insurance, and neither were travel agents.

I asked Legendary Journeys to look into her claim. I heard back from Stew Carrier, a customer service specialist and group tour coordinator, almost immediately.

I’m impressed with the company’s response. Instead of sending me a cease-and-desist letter, which seems to be the preferred method of dealing with unhappy customers and the bloggers who write about them, Carrier took the time to carefully answer Schroll’s question:

As you may be aware, Prime Travel Protection/Universal Assurance group worked with about 150 Travel Agencies across the state of Florida. At the time of their bankruptcy we estimate there were several thousand policies and claims that have been affected.

Since the notification, Legendary Journeys has sent communication to all of our guests whom have yet to travel and had a policy affected by this claim. We offered all of our guests an alternative policy, because their Prime Travel Protection policy is no longer valid, and we also offered all guests a future travel credit in the same amount as their new policy purchase. Legendary Journeys is the only travel company in the state of Florida, to the best of our knowledge, doing anything on this scale currently.

  • Dona

    We had to cancel both cruises for health reasons.