Colo. Agent Beginning Second Season as Ski Pass Insurer

October 14, 2004

Local businessman Ron Iverson is beginning his second season of offering insurance against the price of a season ski pass in case of injury or illness.

“There’s nothing else like it,” said Iverson, an insurance agent. “We’re the only game in town.”

For 28 years, Iverson has been in the business of selling travel insurance, in which the price of a cruise or other expensive vacation would be refunded in case of illness.

A couple of years ago, an employee came up with the idea to modify the tourist cancellation insurance for ski pass holders.

Skier Insurance Services offers a three-part package for 6 percent of the cost of a season pass.

The first part is a prorated “loss of use” policy, which refunds the remaining value of your ski pass if an injury keeps you off the slopes for more than a month.

The second part provides up to $15,000 for emergency evacuation from the mountain in case of injury, while the third part is a $10,000 death and dismemberment clause.

Iverson said his company tested the insurance last season at Big Mountain, but the resort is pretty “consumer friendly” about making refunds. Passes bought early enough in the season cost as little as $429, but can run as high as $1,000.

Mountain management found Iverson’s policy too restrictive. It didn’t cover people if they moved away during the season and it rejected pregnancy claims because “it’s not an unforeseen event,” Iverson said.

Vail in Colorado also was too “customer friendly” for Iverson’s idea to take hold.

But other ski areas aren’t so liberal with refunds.

Aspen, also in Colorado, has a no refund policy for its four resorts that sell about 15,000 ski passes a year. Adult full season passes for all four resorts cost $1,500 to $1,800, depending on how early they are purchased.

This year at Aspen, ticket agents are selling the pass insurance with the tickets.

In the first month of pass sales this year, Aspen skiers bought 15 times as many Skier Insurance Services policies as a year ago. Iverson expects to sell between 1,000 and 2,000 policies this year, compared with 130 during the 2003-2004 season.

“It’s really growing as the word gets out,” Iverson said.

Alaska’s Alyeska resort also is selling the insurance to pass purchasers, Iverson said. Adult season passes there cost about $1,000.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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