Insurance weighs heavily on airport reopening

  • Challenge for visitors: tourists coming into LF Wade International Airport when it reopens next month will need appropriate health insurance (File photograph)

    Challenge for visitors: tourists coming into LF Wade International Airport when it reopens next month will need appropriate health insurance (File photograph)

All visitors will need “appropriate health insurance” before they can enter Bermuda after the airport reopens — but that may be difficult to find during the pandemic.

Many insurers are excluding coverage for claims related to Covid-19, as it is classed as a “known event”.

Some insurers continue to cover medical expenses, as normal. However, an issue arises with the cost of an extended stay because of a positive test for Covid-19 during a trip, which would necessitate a 14-day quarantine before the visitor could leave.

Under the guidelines announced last week by Zane DeSilva, the tourism and transport minister, anyone flying to Bermuda during Phase 4 will be required to test negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours of their journey starting.

Visitors must also be tested on arrival, either at the airport or at their hotel, and then have their temperature taken twice a day at their accommodation.

Mr DeSilva said that pretesting would greatly mitigate the risk of an arrival having Covid-19, but added: “We are finalising a detailed plan for persons who may test positive during their visit. Bermuda’s public health professionals have a well-earned reputation for managing Covid-19 cases successfully and there is every reason to believe that tradition can continue in Phase 4.”

Travel Guard, insurance provided by AIG and sold through the Expedia travel website, specifies on its website: “On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic.

“Therefore, any losses for trip cancellation, trip interruption and/or trip delay caused by or resulting from quarantine due to Covid-19 is not considered ‘unforeseen’ and will not be covered under the terms and conditions of this insurance policy.”

The website adds: “If you contract Covid-19 while on a covered trip, you would be covered for medical expense and trip interruption/curtailment benefits if you have a confirmed and documented diagnosis.”

This also makes clear that the insurance would not cover the costs of delay or cancellation in the event of a positive pre-trip Covid-19 test.

When British Airways resumes flights from London, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s advice against non-essential travel, if it still stands next month, could also be a hurdle for obtaining insurance.

When Dominic Raab, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, issued the advisory, he said: “Anyone still planning to travel should check the validity of their travel insurance.”

The FCO said its advice was under constant review.

The “Compare the Market” travel insurance website states to British readers: “If you choose to travel overseas to a destination while the FCO has advised against non-essential travel, or domestically against the instructions of the UK Government, then your insurance policy will be invalid, and any claim likely to be rejected.”

The Royal Gazette asked the Ministry of Tourism and Transport whether it was aware of any insurance policies that would cover the cost of a quarantine period and, if not, whether it was actively seeking a solution. We did not receive a response by press time.

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Published Jun 17, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 17, 2020 at 8:19 am)

Insurance weighs heavily on airport reopening

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