The COVID-19 Pandemic - Claims Spotlight
Anne Walsh, Claim Manager
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many changes to the travel industry with cruise lines halting operations, travel destinations not allowing visitors, and many destinations requiring proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test or vaccination. As a travel professional, it is always important to provide your clients with accurate information for their travels whether it be a staycation or a highly anticipated “regular” vacation.
Here’s an example of what can happen, if you don’t provide accurate or correct information: In a recently paid claim, the passenger boarded his flight with his negative COVID test in hand and travelled to his planned destination. Upon arrival at the destination, he was amazed to be told by the local officials that he would need to quarantine at his hotel for 14 days. What was the problem, you may ask? His COVID test was completed at a testing facility the state did not recognize nor approve. Unfortunately, the state would only accept negative test results from specific pre-approved testing facilities. The test location the client used was not on the pre-approved list. However, the client used the testing facility provided by his travel professional. Rather than quarantine, the client immediately returned home and requested a full refund. The Insured’s claim was covered under Aon’s Travel Agent & Tour Operator’s Professional Liability policy; and the Insured advised our office they learned a hard lesson when booking travel in the new “norm”. This was an almost $4,000 mistake that his insurance allowed him to escape.
A reminder to all travel professionals, just like advising clients of the need for passports and/or visas, it is just as important to remember, as your customers resume travel, you must provide proper information on COVID-related travel requirements. Of course, your updated terms and conditions should attempt to shift this responsibility to the traveler to ascertain the most current information. However, as you know, for a travel professional quality service and information is key to running a successful business. So together with the information that you have provided your customer, it is best to direct the client to the specific destination’s tourism website for the most up-to-date information.