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Virgin Blue and Mondial Assistance commit to new partnership to transform online travel insurance market

02/09/2009

Brisbane, Wednesday 2 September 2009—Virgin Blue and Mondial Assistance today announced a new partnership that has the potential to significantly transform the way consumers select and personalise travel insurance online.


The new three-year deal with Mondial Assistance, Australia’s largest ecommerce travel insurance provider, marks a further strengthening of the strategic partnership which stretches back to 2003.


“We are pleased to continue with Mondial Assistance as our partner of choice in ecommerce travel insurance,” said Brett Godfrey, Virgin Blue Chief Executive.


“Like Virgin Blue, within their industry Mondial Assistance is an innovative service provider with great commitment to customer service.”


Mondial Assistance Regional Director Asia-Pacific, Peter Edwards, said it was the strength of the group’s global investment in people and a proprietary ecommerce platform that allowed Mondial Assistance to push the boundaries of consumer interaction with online travel insurance.


“Mondial Assistance Group has invested tens of millions of dollars in the last few years to develop a world-first ecommerce platform under the leadership of people like Carole Tokody, our Director of eCommerce, Australia and Asia-Pacific.


“And that has allowed us to offer un-paralleled innovation and value to companies like Virgin Blue. We are confident that this partnership will continue to push the Australian market forward as well as key regional markets.


“Globally we are a $2.8billion dollar company—and we have experienced phenomenal growth in the Australian market because we are committed to strategic partnerships where there is true alignment of core values and entrepreneurial culture,” he said.


Mandy Harber, Virgin Blue’s E-Commerce Partnership Manager, said that at the heart of the new offer to Virgin Blue Guests will be consumer choice and customisation around online purchase of travel insurance.


“When we announced the online integration of flights and travel insurance purchase in September 2006, Virgin Blue was the first airline in Asia-Pacific to do so. And we experienced significant growth from that time, with a relatively limited product offer.


“Now, through the series of initiatives that we will introduce with Mondial Assistance, our Guests will have an unprecedented level of interaction and choice of travel insurance options depending on their individual circumstances—and always in simple, streamlined online transactions.”


Carole Tokody, Director of eCommerce, Australia and Asia Pacific for Mondial Assistance said Mondial Assistance currently handles the entire process for Virgin Blue from the initial underwriting and collection of premiums to claims management.


“We will now be able to take that service to a whole new level—and to a level of ecommerce innovation that is new to the Australian market. Mondial Assistance is a leader in this space and Virgin Blue is a major recipient of our continuing investment in people and technology,” she said.

 


Mondial Assistance Regional Director Asia-Pacific, Peter Edwards and Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey.


About Virgin Blue

Multi award winning airline Virgin Blue and international carriers V Australia, Pacific Blue and Polynesian Blue currently operate a fleet of 81 modern Boeing 737 and EMBRAER aircraft flying to 28 Australian domestic and 13 international destinations across 11 countries. The award winning Group of Airlines is majority Australian owned and employs more than 5966 team members.

V Australia, Virgin Blue Group’s newest international airline, is a three class boutique style airline offering the acclaimed service for which the Virgin Blue Group is renowned and a unique Australian style. On board the airline’s brand new 361-seat 777-300ER aircraft, configuration includes Business Class cabin with 33 fully lie-flat beds, Premium Economy with 40 International Club seats and 288 International Economy seats. All cabins offer the Red, state-of-the-art personal seat back entertainment, seat to seat 'chat' or competition connectivity. The airline also has two in-flight bars, mood lighting including twilight and sunset, bathrooms with piped music including a "ladies only" bathroom and other touches of Australiana from salt and pepper shakers to hidden wallpaper murals.


About Mondial Assistance

Mondial Assistance Group is the global leader in travel insurance and emergency medical assistance, with 10,000 employees operating in 28 countries. The Group’s global reach means they assist someone, somewhere in the world every two seconds. Mondial Assistance in Australia, with 490 employees, ranks fourth highest in the Group in terms of turnover. In 2008, turnover was A$230million and is projected at A$300million for 2009. The company’s significant e-commerce capability is demonstrated by the continued growth of this sector—of the 1.8 million travel insurance policies sold through intermediaries in Australia in 2008, over 80% were sold via their proprietary e-commerce platform. Current Australian partners include major airlines, offline and online travel providers, insurers and leading financial institutions. Mondial Assistance Group is a member of the Allianz Group through AGF and RAS International, each holding a 50% capital stake. For more information, visit www.mondial-assistance.com.au