Updated Coverage Alert – Swine Flu Outbreak

April 30, 2009

Travel Insured continues to closely monitor the outbreak of Swine Flu and the potential impact to our customers.  Many travel suppliers, such as airlines, cruise lines and tour operators, are already working with customers to reroute, reschedule or cancel travel arrangements with no penalties or fees.  Travelers concerned about upcoming travel to affected areas are encouraged to contact their travel suppliers.  

At this time we are covering Swine Flu as any other Sickness.  However, cancellation or interruption due to the concern of contracting the Swine Flu is not covered.  Cancellation or Interruption due to Sickness requires documentation by the attending physician.

Coverage does not include concern of traveling to a specific region, and generally there is no coverage due to government regulations or advisories to specific regions.  However, Travel Insured does provide Cancel for Any Reason coverage to travelers purchasing the Cancel for Any Reason option with their Travel Insured plan and cancelling their trip two or more days prior to their scheduled trip departure date.

We have prepared answers to many of the questions we have been receiving from our customers along with some general information on the swine flu. We will continue to monitor the situation and update our position as developments occur.  If you have a question that is not addressed below, please call us at 1-800-243-3174 or via live chat at www.travelinsured.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I still purchase insurance for this outbreak of swine flu?
    Yes. If you or other covered individuals contract swine flu before or while traveling, coverage will be provided for Sickness as specified in the terms and conditions of your policy.
     
  • Am I covered for swine flu?

Cancel for Any Reason

If your policy includes our optional Cancel for Any Reason coverage; you may cancel your trip at any time up to two days prior to departure and receive up to 75% of your total trip cost.

Trip Cancellation – Interruption

We are treating Swine Flu as any other sickness supporting Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption as per the terms and conditions of your policy.  Claims will require supporting statement from your attending physician.

Emergency Accident & Sickness Medical Expense
Swine flu would be considered an emergency medical condition if you contract it while traveling. 

Emergency Medical Transportation
If you contract swine flu, contact our Assistance company.  If evacuation is required as determined by our consulting physician and the local attending physician, we will take you to the appropriate medical facility. All transportation must be authorized and arranged by the Assistance Company.

Travel Delay
If you are quarantined because of swine flu, many of our policies will pay a daily per person benefit up to the coverage limit for unexpected meals, accommodations and transportation that result from your delay.  Please review your specific policy for the terms and limits that apply. 

 

  • What if I am Quarantined?

    Quarantine coverage is included under Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption and Trip Delay benefits, in the event a physician quarantines the traveler/insured for any illness which prevents traveling.  Quarantine means that the person is restricted to their home or a medical facility; not restricted from one country or destination.

  • How can I find out if my travel supplier will allow me to change the dates of my trip?
    Many travel suppliers, such as airlines, cruise lines and tour operators, are already working with customers to reroute, reschedule or cancel travel arrangements with no penalties or fees.  We recommend travelers concerned about upcoming travel to affected areas, to contact their travel suppliers.
     
  • Can I change the travel dates on my policy if my supplier is allowing me to rebook?
    Yes. We are happy to adjust the travel dates on your policy provided that you have not filed a claim and you have not departed on your trip and your new travel dates are within eighteen months of your original application date.   If your supplier will charge you a change fee, we will not be able to cover that unless you file a claim on your existing policy. Should you choose to file a claim, you will need to purchase a new policy for the new trip.
     
  • Can I cancel if I am concerned about traveling?
    No.  Our policies provide coverage for Trip Cancellation due to specific listed reasons that are unforeseen prior to purchase.  Coverage is not provided for concern of traveling other than coverage provided under our Cancel for Any Reason option.
     
  • Does my policy cover medical care if I become ill while traveling in Mexico?
    Yes.  Swine Flu will be treated as any other Sickness under the terms and conditions of your policy.
     
  • What should I do if I become sick while traveling?
    Seek medical care immediately.   Contact our Assistance Service provider for help in locating a doctor or nearest medical facility.  Contact information and phone numbers are included in your Description of Coverage and on your Confirmation of Benefits.  Be sure to take your policy documents with you when you travel and have these important phone numbers readily available.
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Travel Insured International Statement Regarding Coverage of Swine Flu Illness

April 28, 2009

At this time we are covering Swine Flu as any other Sickness. However, cancellation or interruption due to the fear of contracting the Swine Flu are not covered. Cancellation or Interruption due to Sickness requires documentation by the attending physician.

Travel Insured does provide Cancel for Any Reason coverage to travelers purchasing the Cancel for Any Reason option with their Travel Insured plan and cancelling their trip two or more days prior to their scheduled trip departure date.

Travel Insured plans provide Emergency Sickness Medical Expense and Emergency Medical Evacuation benefits for all necessary medical events, including those resulting from an insured traveler’s contraction of swine flu.

If a Travel Insured policy holder is subjected to an imposed quarantine as the result of swine flu, Travel Insured Trip Delay benefits will apply as normally specified in each plan’s Description of Coverage.

Worldwide Emergency Travel Assistance, included with every Travel Insured plan, will continue to be provided in all travel emergencies, whether or not related to a swine flu illness.


Travel Insured Supports Tourism Cares 2009; Joins in Cleanup of Gettysburg Battlefield Hospital

April 27, 2009

Tourism Cares Gettysburg Cleanup Logo E. Hartford, CT, April 24, 2008 – Travel Insured International has stepped up support of Tourism Cares, the industry non-profit volunteer organization founded jointly by foundations of both the National Tour Organization and the U.S. Tour Operators Association. Travel Insured was represented by Cynthia Perry, CTC, Vice President of Sales and Industry Relations, who is a “Tourism Caretaker” for Tourism Cares, and Marc Flood, Senior Vice President of Sales, at the 2009 Tourism Cares volunteer project. The event took place on April 16 – 18 at Spangler Farm, a historic site adjoining the Civil War Battlefield in Gettysburg, PA.

The Gettysburg cleanup project was the second major Tourism Cares event supported by Travel Insured in the last six months. Travel Insured joined with its underwriter Arch Insurance Group as co-sponsors of the fund-raising “Golf Tournament to Benefit Tourism Cares” on Dec. 4, 2008 at the annual U.S. Tour Operators Association Convention at the J.W. Marriott Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, CA.

April 2009 Gettysburg Event

Tourism Cares Gettysburg Cleanup Photo During the Gettysburg event, Perry and Flood joined 300 fellow industry volunteers to help begin the cleanup toward the restoration of Spangler Farm. The site, which has been in deteriorating condition for decades, includes a surviving barn used as an emergency field hospital for thousands of wounded soldiers during the Battle of Gettysburg from July 1 to 3, 1863. The field hospital was the site of the death of Confederate General Lewis Armistead, who led the decisive Pickett’s Charge on the final day of the battle. Tourism Cares, which raised $10,000 to support the Gettysburg operation, supervised the volunteers’ cleanup of debris and underbrush from Spangler Farm as the first phase of a planned restoration toward the farm’s ultimate re-opening to visitors. Bruce Beckham, CTP, the Executive Director of Tourism Cares, based in Canton, MA, declared the 2009 Gettysburg volunteer project an unqualified success.

In addition to participating in annual tourism restoration projects, Tourism Cares fulfills its mission by raising industry funds to provide scholarships to tourism and hospitality students, to provide grants to worldwide tourism non-profit organizations and to help support capital improvements in the tourism industry. Since 2003, Tourism Cares has supported and participated in restoration projects in Ellis Island in New York City, New Orleans, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, VA and, Virginia City, NV. The organization hopes to begin sponsoring international tourism restoration projects in 2010.

“Tourism Cares is a wonderful opportunity for all of us at Travel Insured to join with our industry partners in giving back to our customers by helping preserve our tourism resources for the benefit of future generations,” said Cynthia Perry. “We are delighted to be able to contribute both financially and with our personal time to support this most worthy industry endeavor.”


YPartnership / U.S.T.A. Survey Finds Consumer Travel Interest Rising

April 16, 2009

All is not doom and gloom as researchers take the temperature of potential consumer travelers this year. Results of a U.S. Traveler Sentiment index, called “Travelhorizons,” were reported in mid-March after being conducted by the consumer research firm YPartnership for the U.S. Travel Association. Travelhorizons compared the intentions of American consumers to travel in February 2009 compared to the start of the index two years earlier in March 2007, when it was set at 100 as a starting point. The reading of 90.2 in February, according to YPartnership, was a sharp increase from 78.2 in October of 2008. The surge in consumer interest was credited to “the affordability of travel” with this year’s cruise, hotel, car rental and attractions discounts seen as having marked impact on consumers’ interest to book trips. “This is the first increase we have observed in the index since January of 2008,” YPartnership chairman Peter Yesawich said in a Travel Trade report.


PA Agent Richcreek Recommends Travel Insured in News Interview

April 16, 2009

Travel agent Margaret Richcreek of Richcreek Vacation Center in Harrisburg, PA, kept her grateful travel insurance partners in mind during a recent interview with Harrisburg’s Patriot-News travel columnist Annette Reiff. In a “Midstate Traveler” column titled “Insurance Policy Can Help Protect Dream Vacation,” Richcreek was asked to provide her industry expertise on how the right insurance can save a client’s trip.

“Tour companies’ coverage is not as comprehensive as that from an insurance company,” Reiff wrote. “Richcreek has found that insurance sold by cruise lines is generally more expensive than buying coverage from an insurance company. Richcreek sells policies offered by Travel Insured International, whose least expensive policy includes coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, missed flight connections, baggage and personal effects, baggage delay, terrorism, emergency accident and medical expenses, emergency evacuation and transport of remains. The company’s most expensive policy offers higher coverage amounts for most of those problems along with additional coverage for preexisting medical conditions, financial default, accidental death and dismemberment.”

Reiff added Richcreek’s recommendation that “for all four levels of [Travel Insured’s] coverage, policy holders can buy optional protection that allows them to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure and receive a 75 percent refund of nonrefundable costs.” Travel Insured thanks Margaret Richcreek, and all our loyal travel agent partners, for recommending Travel Insured to their clients, their friends and to the travel media! A second part of the Richcreek news interview will be covered in our next letter.


Agent Frenaye Writes: Travel Insurance Protects Your Agency

April 16, 2009

Travel agent John Frenaye, a respected industry writer and President / CEO of JVE Group in Annapolis, MD, gave wise advice on March 21st to fellow travel agents in the online travel newsletter Travel Research Online (www.travelresearchonline.com). Frenaye cautioned agents that in this weak economy tour operators may be financially vulnerable to uncertain consumer travel demand. He warned it is vital for agents to sell travel insurance in order to financially protect their business in case a supplier goes bankrupt after clients have prepaid for their trip.

“Who is your client going to blame when their trip does not appear but their money has disappeared?” John wrote. “Right or wrong, you will be involved. So, what is the solution? Pick the right supplier and sell travel insurance! … I am talking about a full fledged bona-fide third party insurance policy underwritten by a surety that is rated by A.M. Best. Please, please do not make the mistake of thinking that a supplier’s trip cancellation waiver is insurance. It is not. And if the supplier defaults, your client has no recourse.” Our thanks to John for sharing his insights with industry peers. We could not have said it better.


Chicago Tribune Misses Health Reasons for Adding Trip Insurance

April 16, 2009

A March 23rd Chicago Tribune article on travel insurance (“Travel Insurance: Trying to Collect it Can be a Real Trip”) by writer Carol Pucci gave some important new reasons why people are shopping for travel insurance with their trips this year. Top priorities for travelers, according to the article, are job loss protection, Cancel for Work Reasons coverage and default and bankruptcy coverage in case your travel supplier becomes insolvent. Missing from the article, however, was the reminder that potential health risks for travelers remain the biggest reason for obtaining travel insurance even as job-related and financial concerns have gained new attention.

Travel Insured sent a note to the Chicago Tribune travel editor asking him and writer Pucci to remind readers that the U.S. State Department recommends travel insurance for international trips (http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/tips_1232.html#health) because most U.S. health plans and Medicare programs do not provide coverage outside the U.S. Additionally, covering against Trip Cancellation due to disruptive illnesses or accidents involving non-traveling, as well as traveling, family members, especially elderly ones, is a top priority for adding travel insurance to a trip booking.