In travel insurance, the “snowbird” market is nothing to sneeze at. The winter migration is thriving, and older travellers are more active than ever.

“We're seeing real dynamism among retirees. They are increasingly curious,” says Pierre Saint-Onge, of Tour+Med. “They’ll go anywhere from Boston to Paris.”

Robin Ingle, of Ingle International, agrees. "We see more retired people doing these activities. Some want to bike through the desert, other want to climb mountains. There is a company in Iraq that brings you through the trouble spots. "

Does this derring-do boost premiums? Not according to Emmanuel Reinaud of etfs. The cost is determined based on the client’s replies to the medical questionnaire and the duration of the trip. He adds that their adventures do not trigger more claims. “In general, they don’t take unreasonable risks,” he says.

The migrating retiree market is an attractive one for brokers because these travellers are aware of the need for coverage. Also, their premiums are high. “In terms of premium, one senior is equivalent to no fewer than 15 students,” Mr. Saint-Onge points out.

An emerging trend: retirees’ trips abroad are getting shorter. “For some time they have opted for shorter, more frequent stays. They prefer to take one or two months, but will do so twice a year,” Mr. St-Onge says.

The leading destinations include Mexico, Texas and European sun spots, such as Spain. Florida is also high on the list. More exotic destinations like China and Japan are also popular. Many retirees buy insurance products with particular durations. “They’re covered for the whole year, for a maximum stay of 30 days,” Mr. St-Onge says.