The travel industry has been one of the hardest hit by pandemics. Insurance policies didn’t include it at the beginning, but forward-thinking insurance companies are already launching new insurance products specifically designed to cover for them.
Of all the various sectors of the economy which have been struggling to cope with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the travel industry has been one of the hardest hit. Health and safety concerns mean that potential travellers have been avoiding anywhere crowded – which tourist destinations have a habit of being – air travel has slowed to a trickle (with some sources citing a 90% drop in the number of air passengers), and hotels and cruise ships stand empty.
So how has the travel sector’s less visible but no less vital sibling – the travel insurance industry – responded to the situation? And how has its response affected travellers?
As anyone who has ever tried to make claims on their travel insurance will know, it’s subject to much less regulation than many other forms of insurance: things policy holders may be confident they’re covered for – like terrorist attacks and war – may actually render their policy void, while the situations like illness, death and job loss policies do usually cover generally don’t include epidemics, pandemics and infectious diseases.
Add to that unless a policy is bought before a threat like Covid-19 has been formalised, any ‘foreseen’ risks are uninsurable. Many travellers hoping to recoup from policies acquired after the date Covid-19 became ‘foreseen’ have therefore found their cancellation claims being refused. At the same time, worried travellers cancelling trips out of fear of developments in the period before governments worldwide closed down airports, ports and stations have been discovering that their travel insurance includes no provision for payouts in this case unless they have also purchased an expensive C.F.A.R. (Cancel For Any Reason) upgrade.
The situation has prompted many travellers to start questioning exactly what it is they’re paying for when they buy travel insurance, and whether – if it doesn’t cover them for situations like those caused by the pandemic – it’s actually worth buying at all.
The Covid-19 situation has highlighted how vital it is to start factoring epidemics, pandemics and infectious diseases into insurance policies. Health and safety and the costs they incur are now the new normal, and forward-thinking insurance companies are already launching new insurance products specifically designed to cover for them and to encourage people to start traveling again.
It’s a difficult time for the travel and the insurance industries, but initiatives like these point to ways in which travel insurance can play its part in restoring confidence by adopting a reactive, progressive response to the needs of the post-Covid world that is emerging.