Travel related insurance cover for future coronavirus claims has been withdrawn by three more travel insurers – Aviva, InsureandGo and the Post Office, following a similar measure earlier by LV=.
Late on Wednesday night, an announcement that sale of all travel insurance policies will be stopped with immediate effect due to the coronavirus outbreak was made by LV= which shocked the travel industry.
On Thursday, a similar announcement was also made by the insurance giant Aviva which declared that it has suspended selling of all of its single-trip direct travel insurance to all new customers who were travelling to Italy “to reflect the current risks posed by coronavirus”. The company said that the options of “travel disruption” or “airspace closure” add-ons will no longer be available to customers who are buying travel insurance cover for trips to destinations other than Italy.
This decision followed the announcement of the World Health Organization declaring the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic. Markets expect that similar measures will also be taken by other insurers as well. The implication of the decision is that those travelers who have already taken insurance cover for future holidays will most probably not get any cover for illness because of coronavirus.
Making a similar announcement, the Post Office said that while it would continue to sell new travel insurance policies to people, the company will no longer provide any cover for anyone making an y claims related to coronavirus for all polices that are purchased 11 March 2020 – the day when the WHO announced the virus outbreak as a pandemic.
Any claim relating to the virus will not be allowed to be made by anyone who had bought a travel insurance policy from InsureandGo, owned by Mapfre, after 11.59pm on 11 March, the insurer announced on Thursday morning.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said that those travelers who had purchased travel insurance policies from all the firms before 11 March will be allowed to raise claims as before.
The entire situation is being monitored by it very closely, the Post Office said, and added that it would update its travel alerts webpage with the latest information for policy holders.
“Insurance is designed to provide cover for unforeseen and unexpected events and is priced on this basis. The outbreak of the Coronavirus means there is an increased likelihood of disruption to people’s travel plans. We envisage that these decisions, affecting only Aviva’s travel insurance new business, will be temporary actions,” said an Aviva spokeswoman.
The travel industry has been one of the worst hit due to the coronavirus outbreak because of the curbs on travel and this has also affected insurers. In the case of advises against all but essential travel to a country is given by a government, the question of cancellation of travel insurance rises. While sometime even travel disruption cover comes in, such claims are typically limited and not available for cheaper policies.
“Existing policies remain unaffected. Travel insurance for new customers remains widely available, so people should shop around for the cover that best meets their needs. In a competitive insurance market, insurers will be monitoring carefully the fast-moving developments in the coronavirus outbreak, and will keep their position under constant review as the situation develops,” said an ABI spokesperson.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)