TravelBiz Monitor


Friday, 21 September, 2018, 12 : 21 PM [IST]
Overseas Insurance - Better Safe than Sorry!!!!

Overseas travel insurance is compulsory while travelling to many countries today. In fact, it’s a compulsory requirement while applying for a visa to visit Schengen countries. The minimum value of the policy is USD 50,000 and goes up to USD 500,000 for those willing to pay a higher premium.

Insurance companies have a principal - agent relationship with the travel consultant, for which he/she is paid a commission. Travel insurance policies are also available on the web portals of these insurance companies. Quite often travel consultants are unaware of the implications of selling an overseas policy, without explaining details to their clients. Travellers, on the other hand, assume that as they are paying the premium all exigencies are covered, including sicknesses that may arise out of past conditions, still prevailing in the client. Most insurance companies, on the other hand, will refuse to pay cost of this medical treatment occurring during an overseas visit (from existing ailments), as their conditions and clauses are clearly mentioned in the policy. The best ailment that comes to mind is blood pressure and diabetes. Should a client have one or both of these, and the same is admitted in the application form, then insurance companies will exclude all possible illnesses arising from this condition. This could include heart attack, stroke, coma, etc. Technically, what this means is the client will not have access in making a claim incase such a situation occurs. Medical costs abroad are prohibitively expensive and could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, euros, etc.

How does a tour operator/ consultant absolve himself from taking on this liability incase the insurance company fails to do so? Most importantly, he needs to get the `overseas travel insurance policy application form’ signed by the client before issuing the overseas policy, who after reading and filling in the details accepts the responsibility for all that is mentioned in the form. If the client is out of town, the details can be obtained by getting a scanned copy signed (which can be compared with signature on the passport). If an unfortunate incident takes place, the signed form with details mentioned can always be provided, as proof that sufficient information was provided and the client had clearly read, filled and understood the conditions of this policy. It’s in this manner that he/she can be absolved and the onus then falls back to the client and the insurance company.

Travel agents, consultants and tour operators often go out of their way to assist and help their clients with end-to-end solutions and having a seamless experience. However, it’s important to understand the importance of the principal-agent relationship, the law of contracts and limited liability concept.

Hector Dsouza
President - L’orient Travels

(The views expressed within this column are the opinion of the author, and may not necessarily be endorsed by the publication.)