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Travel insurer wins terrorism cover for Kiwis


Travel insurer wins terrorism cover for Kiwi travellers

Travel insurance specialist Mike Henry has re-instated terrorism cover in all its leisure travel insurance following the Bali bombing.

After the terrorist attack on New York’s World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001, most insurance underwriters withdrew cover for acts of terrorism. As a result most travel insurance since then has excluded cover for injury or disruption arising from terrorist acts.

Mike Henry Group General Manager – Travel Services Fiona Hewitt said the Bali bombing presented insurers with an ‘ethical challenge’, and that her company had chosen to rise to the challenge by breaking the industry ‘norm’ and re-negotiating terrorism cover back into all its leisure travel policies.

‘Even though no Mike Henry insured travellers were injured in Bali, we felt that ethically for the future it was important that we covered people for it. We then worked hard to negotiate with our underwriters to re-instate it,’ she said.

More New Zealanders travelled with Mike Henry travel insurance than any other insurance cover, said Ms Hewitt, meaning that most Kiwi travellers would be better protected than they had been. Mike Henry travel insurance is sold throughout New Zealand by travel agents. All Mike Henry leisure travel insurance policies will include terrorism cover from December 1, 2002.

The additional cover provides for medical care, medical repatriation or personal accident claims resulting from an act of terrorism. It excludes costs associated with re-jigging travel plans for anyone not directly affected by an attack.

‘Our goal is to protect those directly affected in any future incidents,’ said Ms Hewitt.

The change means a small increase in holiday travel insurance premiums, averaging an extra $3 for short trips to an extra $24 for long trips to long haul destinations. Terrorism cover for business travellers has been available as an optional extra at around an additional 15% of the price of the policy premium.

Ms Hewitt said that adding terrorism cover to all leisure travel policies, and raising premiums slightly across the board, was the fairest way of providing the safeguard.

‘Bali brought home that there is no way of knowing where to recommend optional additional cover for leisure travel, so we’ve decided to include it across the board.’

Ms Hewitt said that Mike Henry had responded quickly because of its focus on travel insurance. She stressed that re-instating terrorism cover was in no way an invitation to travellers to travel to areas of high risk.

‘We continue to advise all travellers to be careful, to be well prepared and to consider the advice of New Zealand’s travel advisories when it comes to choosing destinations.’

Ms Hewitt said that the most important message, in the global climate of increased risk, was for travellers to make sure they carried effective insurance cover when travelling.

‘A surprising number of New Zealanders still travel either un-insured or without reading the policy wording,’ she said. ‘Many people are unaware of the potential cost of unexpected or difficult situations even in countries like Australia.’

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