Unexpected Travel Insurance Claims Revealed by Essential Travel

London, England — (SBWIRE) — 02/29/2012 — Leading travel insurance, airport parking and hotels provider Essential Travel reveals some of its weirder claims from UK holidaymakers:

- A bill of £23,000 medical expenses for a bad bout of Delhi Belly would have been more than a pain in the bum for one unlucky traveller had he not invested in insurance.

- The poor gent struck by lightening in South Africa luckily won’t be struck twice as fortunately his insurance covered his medical costs of over £5,000

- Who said Americans are greedy? It was a Brit caught gobbling down his steak. Luckily he won’t be choking on his medical bill of over £5,000 as his Essential Travel insurance meant that he didn’t bite off more than he could chew…

- They say local grappa tastes like rocket fuel but one traveller in Turkey took that a bit too literally when they accidentally drank gasoline resulting in a hangover to the tune of over a £1,000

- A real life slip of the tongue almost ended in disaster in Turkey when one lady swallowed her tongue after an almighty sneeze. The £1,000 bill covered by her insurance wasn’t to be sniffed at…

- A plucky young traveller in Mexico suffering from chicken pox managed to avoid the seven-year itch – probably the length of time it would have taken her to repay the £20,400 in medical fees had been without cover

- Getting a sun tan is one thing, but oiling up a medical bill for £2,550 to treat sunburn in the US would certainly have left this traveller with scars if she’d forgotten to take out her travel insurance

- Having insurance certainly took the sting out of the £4,800 medical bill one gent in the Dominican Republic suffered after receiving a nasty insect bite. Another traveller in Indonesia saved himself going ape at a medical bill of over £1,000 for a monkey bite

- The bill could have been worse than the bite for the individual suffering from a nasty dog attack in South Africa which luckily didn’t set him back the £6,000 it cost to get him fixed up as he’d invested in travel insurance

Stuart Bensusan from Essential Travel said: “I think many people looking at some of our highest claim costs – and some of the reasons for them – will be extremely surprised.

Some of the cases may raise a smile, but there’s a serious side too. In addition to the £23,000 Delhi Belly case mentioned above we’ve also seen payouts of £89,359 on bleeding lesions, £69,699 spent on Cellulitis in Canada and £59,135 on a bank injury in the USA. These were serious medical conditions not just requiring financial help but also the support and logistical assistance that our insurance provided for.

When you put this in to the context of a single trip policy costing from as little as £6.94 it really does highlight the unnecessary risk that people travelling uninsured may be subjecting themselves to.”

Notes to editors

About EssentialTravel.co.uk
Established in 2001, EssentialTravel.co.uk is one of the UK’s leading online travel essentials companies. The core products offered include competitively priced, fully comprehensive travel insurance; airport car parking; airport lounge access; airport hotels; car hire; and car hire excess insurance.

Essential Travel is now part of Thomas Cook UK Ireland.

Article source: http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/sbwire-129239.htm

Country guides from Direct Travel Insurance

How do you choose where to go, and what will you do when you
get there?

 

The answer is to take a look at the country guides put
together by Direct Travel Insurance. There is one for virtually every country
stuffed full of know before you go’hints and facts.

 

As well as where to go tips ranging from mainstream
attractions to quirky finds, there is lots of invaluable insider information.

 

A risk rating grades countries according to violent crime,
social unrest, terrorism, potential for major disruption and ease of
evacuation. Venezuela, Lebanon and Nepal are all rated high risk, while
Zimbabwe is ‘extreme’.

Article source: http://www.privatehealth.co.uk/news/february-2012/country-guides-from-direct-travel-insurance-36667/

United Airlines to Sell Options on Its Own Tickets

N73276 from Houston (IAH) landing at San Diego...

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The New York Times reports that airlines are increasingly deriving their revenue from sources other than ticket sales, and one interesting revenue stream they highlight is a kind of financial product: Continental will let you pay a small fee to “lock in” an airfare. You then have a week to decide whether or not to buy—and if fares drop in the meantime, you’re not committed to the old, higher fare. Continental has offered this feature for a year; its corporate sister, United Airlines, will begin selling fare locks next month.

This is very similar to a product that Farecast began offering in 2007. Farecast was a travel site that predicted whether airfares on a given route would rise or fall in the future. When Farecast advised a customer that airfares were likely to fall, they would offer to sell “Fare Guard,” insurance that would cover the customer’s loss if Farecast was wrong and airfares actually rose. Eventually, Microsoft bought out Farecast and integrated the fare forecasting technology into Bing Travel. But Fare Guard, for whatever reason, is gone.

The interesting difference between Fare Guard and the Continental product is that Farecast was a third party; it could predict the future path of airfares, but it couldn’t actually control them. On the other hand, Continental is offering to sell you an option based on future actions that are within Continental’s control. When Continental prices a fare lock, it knows whether it plans to raise fares, lower them, or keep them the same. Presumably, sales of fare locks could also influence Continental’s decision about whether to raise fares on a given flight.

Of course, this isn’t entirely novel: the existence of refundable and non-refundable fares already means that customers and airlines can bet on the likely direction of future airfares. And a fare lock isn’t quite like a stock option: to exercise it, you actually have to buy the ticket and fly the flight, so it’s not a pure financial product. Still, I wonder if being the fare-setter is the difference that allows Continental to make a profit on fare protection when Farecast apparently could not.

All that said, I won’t be using a fare lock anytime soon. I view this product as similar to another one that airlines sell and you shouldn’t buy: travel insurance. Insurers make money by charging you a premium in exchange for smoothing out your losses from casualties. If you can afford to absorb those occasional casualties yourself, you save money by not insuring. For most travelers, the occasional $150 change fee is a manageable casualty, so it’s not worth paying to insure against either unforeseen illness or unexpected fare shifts.

P.S. The Times notes that sales of fare locks may be damped by a new rule that will require airlines to hold fare quotes for 24 hours. In practice, many airlines already have this policy. Delta will refund any non-refundable ticket within 24 hours of purchase if you call them and ask—so, that’s a way to lock in a fare for free for one day, if not one week.

Article source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbarro/2012/02/28/united-airlines-to-sell-options-on-its-own-tickets/

Cruising on the High Seas and Insurance Protection When Traveling, America’s …

In the wake of the Costa Concordia crash and pending lawsuits, Frank N. Darras says that we must ask ourselves, what we can do to protect ourselves if a similar event happened to us while on vacation.

Ontario, CA (PRWEB) February 27, 2012

The horrifying wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise ship left twenty-five people dead and seven remain missing and are presumed dead. Many more were injured in their scramble to get to safety and survivors lost hundreds of dollars in personal belongings. “In the wake of the crash, we must ask ourselves, what we can do to protect ourselves if a similar event happened to us while on vacation,” says Frank N. Darras, America’s top insurance lawyer.

When booking a cruise, call or look online at the contract you are required to sign before you depart. Most contracts contain clauses that impact and restrict, the passenger’s ability to recover damages. For example, contracts may set a limit on the amount of damages you may recover, even if the cruise line operator was negligent. Unfortunately, signing this contract is a requirement if you want to sail on the open water.

Here are simple steps to follow :

  • Do not bring valuables onto the ship that you cannot carry with you at all times. Invest in a small digital camera or a disposable one, rather than bringing your expensive camera.
  • Make sure you are insured against any risks. See what your existing insurance policies will cover on vacation, especially if you are traveling outside the United States. Consider buying travel insurance to cover any additional costs.
  • If an accident does occur, seek legal counsel immediately upon returning home. Most clauses have a set unfavorable time limits on when you can file a claim or where you can sue the cruise line.

“You should also contact your medical insurance company and ask them specific questions about your coverage on the high seas,” says Darras. “Find out if they will cover emergency expenses, such as returning you to the United States if you are seriously injured or gravely ill.”

Always ask if you’re covered on a foreign-flagged vessel. This is very important since most cruise ships, even those cruising U.S. waters, are not flagged in the U.S. If your insurance doesn’t cover you on the ship, you may elect to purchase Travel Medical Insurance.

“Travel Medical policies focus only on medical coverage and do not cover any other travel expenses. The premium you pay for the insurance takes into account the length of the trip, the age of the traveler, and the amount of coverage. Be sure to ask the Traveler Medical Insurance carrier about the limitations and exclusions of the policy including pre-existing conditions, medical evacuation and where they will take you to in the event of an emergency (your choice or theirs)”, says Darras.

The Costa Concordia accident is a lesson to us all. Making sure you’re protected before leaving port will allow you to relax on your cruise and avoid disaster if an accident does occur.

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For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012/2/prweb9230056.htm

Article source: http://www.timesunion.com/business/press-releases/article/Cruising-on-the-High-Seas-and-Insurance-3364854.php

Mapfre, CEA partner to aim French travel insurance market

Related Sectors
General Insurance Commercial lines

Related Dates
2012 February

Related Industries
Financial Services Insurance Non-Life Insurance Commercial Insurance

Article source: http://commerciallines.insurance-business-review.com/news/mapfre-cea-partner-to-aim-french-travel-insurance-market-280212

Travel insurance becomes compulsory in Malasyia

From 1 March, those travelling out of Malaysia will be required to buy travel insurance.

According to reports in New Straits Times the legislation applies only to travellers who book their tickets through travel agents that are members of the Malaysian Association of Tour Travel Agents. It applies to those travelling by air, land or sea.

Matta president Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun said in the report that it is mandatory for travellers to obtain travel insurance because it is in the travel act.

The launching of the travel insurance coverage also sees the appointment of six insurance companies as official travel insurance service providers.

The insurance will cover medical, hospitalisation and travel expenses, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation, reimbursement of deposits or full payment of air tickets or tour packages, repatriation of mortal remains, compassionate visitation benefits, accidental death, permanent disability and a 24-hour emergency hotline.

“We have been working with insurance companies and the Tourism Ministry to come up with an affordable travel insurance scheme covering all or most of the critical points,” said Khalid.

The six companies were represented by Amir Ghaffar for Ace Jerneh Insurance Berhad; Ganeswaran Subramaniam, Chartis Malaysia Insurance Berhad; Abdul Khalid Salleh, Hong Leong MSIG Takaful Berhad; Dave Loo Teong Wah, Kurnia Insurance; Chuang Chee Hing, Lonpac Insurance Berhad; and Raymond Lew Yung Chow, RHB Insurance Berhad.

For the full article click here.

Article source: http://www.insuranceinsight.eu/insurance-insight/news/2155663/travel-insurance-compulsory-malasyia

Grounded Ships and Airline Consolidations Draw Attention to Travel Insurance

/PRNewswire/ – The travel industry has seen its fair share of major changes and developments in recent years, and 2012 shows no signs of slowing down. The Costa Concordia disaster that struck during wave season, coupled with the very recent robbing of Carnival Splendor cruisers while on a tour excursion in Mexico, have left cruisers with questions about cruise ship safety and regulations. Cruise lines and airlines have tightened cancellation policies, leaving travelers with stiffer penalties when changing itineraries. News of airline consolidations and bankruptcies continued to make headlines across the globe, as the number of seats available to passengers began to shrink even more.

Furthermore, travel experts from websites like Smarter Travel and Airfare Watchdog have predicted that the cost of airfare will continue to rise in 2012 due to factors including oil prices, increased regulation, fees, and decreased competition.**

In spite of all of this, travel to far-flung places has become increasingly common. Exotic, long-haul destinations like Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Myanmar and Abu Dhabi landed on lists of the “must see” destinations for 2012 compiled by some of the country’s top travel editors and experts.* In a world with more places to go and more things that can go wrong, it’s important for travelers to educate themselves on how to cover their investment, and safeguard themselves, when traveling.

“The big, dramatic stories are what get people thinking about travel insurance,” said Carol Mueller, Vice President at Travel Guard North America. “In reality, travelers are more likely to actually use travel insurance plans for common, everyday reasons.” 

According to Mueller, the majority of insureds file claims as a result of trip cancellation, interruption or delay; lost or delayed luggage; and medical emergencies. Others take advantage of “Cancel for Any Reason” plans that provide reimbursement in the event that they must call off the trip entirely.

However, many travelers don’t realize that travel insurance plans often do more than just cover the costs of these types of inconveniences. They can serve as an invaluable resource for travelers in need, providing assistance services such as facilitating cash transfers, making last-minute hotel arrangements and tracking lost luggage. This type of assistance can be especially helpful in a foreign country, where Travel Guard can help locate English-speaking doctors, assist with replacing lost or stolen travel documents and relay messages to family and friends back home.

Travel Guard’s 24-hour call center ensures that customers can reach someone at a moment’s notice, regardless of where they are in the world. For the more than 90 million Americans planning travel online, (according to the U.S. Travel Association’s “Travelers’ Use of the Internet” study in 2009,) the travel assistance services can provide extra reassurance that they won’t be heading out into the world alone.

Travel Guard’s assistance service centers have access to the most current information regarding airline flight schedules, can act as emergency travel counselors and are prepared to help travelers with alternative travel solutions. Travel Guard North America’s core insurance plans include coverage for trip cancellation, interruption and delay in the event of covered reasons such as natural disaster or inclement weather. “Our claims representatives are always just a call away, no matter the time of day or night,” said Mueller.

For more information about Travel Guard’s selection of travel insurance and assistance service plans, travelers can talk to their travel agent, visit www.travelguard.com or call Travel Guard’s World Service Center at 1.800.826.1300. Travelers can also “Like” Travel Guard at www.Facebook.com/TravelGuard or follow the company on Twitter @TravelGuard to stay abreast of travel trends, news and views.

About Travel Guard

Travel Guard, a Chartis company and worldwide leader in travel insurance and assistance, provides products and services to millions of travelers around the globe, including a wide range of emergency services through its wholly-owned assistance centers located in Asia, Europe and the Americas.  Travel Guard helps leisure and business travelers alike solve problems and manage risks.  Travel Guard’s global reach, unparalleled service quality and proven operational capabilities allows clients to receive best-in-class care.  Travel Guard’s suite of technology platforms enables seamless integration with all major travel distribution systems and supplier channels.  The travel insurance products marketed by Travel Guard are underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries and affiliates of Chartis Inc.  For additional information, please visit our websites at www.travelguard.com and www.travelguardworldwide.com.

The coverage listed here is for U.S. residents only. To learn more about coverage in Canada, please call 1-866-648-8422.

The travel insurance products marketed by Travel Guard in the United States are underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., a Pennsylvania insurance company, with its principal place of business at 175 Water Street, New York, NY 10038. It is currently authorized to transact business in all states and the District of Columbia. NAIC No. 19445.

. This is only a brief description of the coverages available.  The Policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions.  Coverage may not be available in all states.

*Source: CNN.com, Travel + Leisure

** http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/travel/2017151623_trairfares05.html 

SOURCE Travel Guard North America

Article source: http://www.bradenton.com/2012/02/27/3904572/grounded-ships-and-airline-consolidations.html

£8000 a day cruise to set sail

A new £1 million cruise has been launched by Silversea

Article source: http://www.world-first.co.uk/home/travel-insurance/cruise/8000-a-day-cruise-to-set-sail$44140.aspx

Carnival faces class-action suits

eurosIn the immediate aftermath of the Costa Concordia disaster, the world watched as divers searched fruitlessly for survivors in the part-sunken cruise ship. When the search period ended, though, news began to emerge of the financial implications for the cruise lines responsible for the ship. Mandy Aitchison has the details of several lawsuits that have been filed against Carnival Cruise Lines and its subsidiary Costa Crociere

It has been confirmed that Italian consumer association Codacons is one organisation that is filing a lawsuit against Costa Cruises on behalf of the passengers of the Costa Concordia. In addition, there are two US-based law firms that have also confirmed their intention to file a class-action lawsuit in the US, with the aim of securing hundreds of thousands of dollars for each passenger onboard the stricken vessel. Mitchell Proner, a lawyer with one of the US firms, Proner Proner, said: “Along with Codacons, we have formed an association and our firms are collectively going to be filing a suit in Miami … on behalf of all the victims of the Costa Concordia disaster.” Proner said that his firm would be seeking compensation from the cruise line for continued medical care, loss of earnings and psychological impact. He told the BBC that he had 110 claimants.

Proner Proner is said to be working with New York-based Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik, which is well known for securing compensation for workers who suffered health problems after working at Ground Zero, the site of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. Proner said the coalition of international lawyers collectively represented 500 clients, including passengers from Croatia, Brazil, Russia, France, Germany and the Dominican Republic. In an interesting twist, he also reported that one of his clients, who happened to speak both Italian and English, has claimed that different instructions were given in different languages. In English, passengers were supposedly told to go back to their cabins, whereas the Italian instruction told them to board the lifeboats.

It was reported that the suit begun by Proner Proner is seeking US$10 million in personal damages and $450 million in punitive damages of behalf of passengers. Marco Ramadoria, president of Codacons, said that offers of compensation from the cruise line had been insufficient: “They are offering to refund the cost of the ticket as if you had missed a plane and lost your luggage. You cannot compare the two.” Costa was originally offering passengers €11,000 each in compensation for their traumatic experience, which Codacons has urged passengers not to accept. Costa’s offer was the result of negotiations with other consumer groups, who claim to be representing the 3,206 passengers who did not suffer any physical harm as a result of the disaster.

 

Further action

On 14 February, it was confirmed that 39 passengers from the Costa Concordia had filed suit against Carnival Cruise Lines Inc. and Costa Cruise Lines, and were seeking $78 million in punitive damages. Marc Bern, a lawyer representing the group of passengers, said the defendants ‘acted in a severely reckless and wilful, wanton manner, with complete disregard for the safety, lives and well-being of the plaintiffs’. Agence France Presse reported that the 39 plaintiffs included passengers from the US, Italy, Germany, Canada, South Korea and China.

UK-based law firm Irwin Mitchell confirmed that it is leading a team of 12 lawyers who are advising a ‘growing list’ of survivors of the disaster, with the firm’s branches in Spain and Italy handling enquiries as well as that in the UK. Cilve Garner, the firm’s head of travel litigation, said: “Collectively, we are dealing with dozens of clients, and the number of inquires is climbing all the time. I suspect they might rise substantially in the coming week.” He added: “With thousands of people onboard this huge vessel, the safety of the passengers should have been the first and only priority. Tragically, our clients confirm that this was not the case and passengers and their families have paid a very high price. The running aground of the Costa Concordia was terrible enough, but this was compounded by the woeful management of the evacuation of the vessel.”

In response to the notification of the class action suits, Costa stated: “The company understands those concerns and will respond in due course, but for now, it wants to concentrate on dealing with the immediate tragedy. As an initial gesture, it has already sent letters to all those passengers onboard asking them to detail their expenses and any costs they might have incurred so reimbursements can be made.” The company gave passengers a deadline of 31 March to accept the offer of compensation.

There are disagreements currently as to whether or not the US class action suits could be brought against Costa Cruises, as it has been reported that when buying a cruise from Costa, customers are asked to sign a waiver that states that any litigation resulting from the cruise would have to be pursued in Italy. Proner believes, though, that this rule could be circumvented: “The US has a long tradition of protecting rights, and not only is Costa owned by an American company, but they have brought themselves into our stream of commerce. There were 120 Americans onboard, and they will demand access to their rights.”

 

Improved safety

In the wake of the Concordia tragedy, the three major organisations representing cruise lines – Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) – agreed that every passenger who boards a cruise ship would be given a mandatory safety briefing, including details on evacuation procedures, before the ship leaves port. CLIA added that a muster drill must also take place immediately, rather than within 24 hours of leaving port, as is currently the case. The statement from CLIA read: “Current legal requirements for conducting a muster of passengers are found in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and mandate that a muster for embarking passengers occur within 24 hours of their embarkation. Notwithstanding the legal requirement, CLIA’s member cruise lines have identified a best practice effective immediately that calls for conducting the mandatory muster for embarking passengers prior to departure from port. On occasions when guests arrive after the muster has been completed, CLIA’s policy is that they be promptly provided with individual or group safety briefings that meet the requirements for musters applicable under SOLAS. This practice exceeds existing legal requirements and has been adopted by CLIA’s membership as a formal policy to help ensure that any mandatory musters or briefings are conducted for the benefit of all newly embarked passengers at the earliest practical opportunity.”

Meanwhile, US-based Travel Guard recently polled travel agents in the country to gauge the effects of the Costa Concordia disaster on the number of people planning to take cruise holidays this year. The survey showed that 46 per cent of agents believe the incident will not drastically affect the number of cruise bookings, and just seven per cent said that fewer people would want to book a cruise as a result. Forty-seven per cent of agents believe that avid cruisers will continue with their planned holidays, but people who have not cruised before would strongly consider other types of holiday before choosing a cruise. For readers of ITIJ, the good news to emerge from the survey is that 37 per cent of those polled believe that people who do decide to go on a cruise will be more likely to buy travel insurance as a result of the disaster. Eighty-eight per cent of agents, though, said that an unforeseen illness is still the main reason why clients should purchase insurance for their trip.

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Article source: http://www.itij.co.uk/story/133

Canadian whooping cough warning

Health officials have issued a whooping cough warning for parts of British Columbia, Canada

Article source: http://www.world-first.co.uk/home/travel-insurance/medical-problems/canadian-whooping-cough-warning$44160.aspx

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