The expensive insurance that consumers are prompted to opt in or out of when they book online travel on popular websites is big business- and, according to lawsuits and a U.S Senator, airlines and others may be illegally profiting from travel insurance by receiving a portion of the premiums paid by consumers for the insurance. The practice of sharing insurance premiums may violate some state laws, and customers of airlines and online travel booking websites may have viable legal claims as a result.
Two major airlines, Delta and JetBlue – are named as defendants in class action lawsuits alleging that that the companies are not disclosing to their customers that they profit by receiving a portion of the premiums from the sales of travel cancellation insurance policies endorsed on their websites. In addition, according to court records, American Airlines appears to have entered into a settlement in a case involving the receipt of a portion of travel insurance premiums paid by customers. .
These lawsuits follow allegations by U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts that online website and travel agencies induce consumers to buy travel insurance with minimal coverage and numerous exclusions by requiring them to affirmatively accept or reject travel insurance before completing a purchase of a plane ticket. In addition to JetBlue and Delta, the following airlines reportedly sell travel insurance: