Travel claims relating to flooding in Queensland

An Australian leader in general insurance, Chartis has clarified its position in regards to travel insurance claims relating to flooding in Queensland.

The recent floods in Queensland have resulted in severe travel disruptions, with The Premier of Queensland Anna Bligh having officially declared three quarters of Queensland a disaster zone on the 11th of January 2011. For this reason Chartis would like to confirm that claims arising from these floods will generally be covered if the insurance policy was already in place prior to the flooding. Chartis has also taken the view that any future travel disruptions caused by the flooding will, in most cases, be unforeseen or unexpected, and would generally be covered subject to the other terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy.

However, if the insured knew, or a reasonable person should have known, that their travel was likely to be disrupted when they took out travel insurance*, then Chartis is unlikely to pay their claim. For example, if the client purchased their insurance policy within a short period of their planned travel date and after an announcement of the flooding had been publicised, the clients’ claim may be denied on the basis that the disruption was either expected or foreseeable.

As the flooding has steadily progressed through various regions of Queensland, each claim will be assessed in conjunction with announcements for each region. For example Bundaberg and Rockhampton were declared natural disaster situations by The Premier of Queensland Anna Bligh on the 29th of December 2010, significantly earlier than other areas in the state.

“Chartis travel insurance policy wordings generally contain clauses that indicate cover for floods, natural disasters, unforeseeable events and unforeseeable circumstances outside an insured’s control. Nevertheless, we urge insureds to consult their policy wordings,” stated Mark Kopec, Australasian Travel Insurance Manager, Chartis. “However, if a client decides to purchase or activate an insurance policy after a flood occurs, claims in such circumstances may not be paid.” added Mr. Kopec.

Before we can consider a claim or provide advice on a claim, insureds should:

1. Confirm with their travel agent, airline, bus line, accommodation provider and/or tour company that their trip has been cancelled;
2. Make alternative arrangements with their travel agent, airline, bus line, accommodation provider and/or tour company;
3. Contact their travel agent, airline, bus line, accommodation provider and/or tour company to see what costs they will meet or amendment concessions or refunds they are prepared to provide.

As always, each claim will be considered on its merits taking into account the individual circumstances of the claim and the terms and conditions of the policy.

Policy holders are advised to check their particular policy wording for eligibility, limit of coverage and the type of expenses that can be claimed.

No cover is available for used portions of prepaid travel arrangements. Where cover is available under both Cancellation and Additional Expense Sections, Insureds can claim under either the Cancellation or Additional Expense Section for the same period, not both.

Chartis underwrites Travel Insurance products for many blue chip companies in Australia including airlines, banks and travel companies.

* For credit card complimentary insurances and annual multi-trip travel policies (including Corporate Travel policies), the date you took out your travel insurance is generally deemed to be the date you activated cover for that trip by purchasing the travel arrangements.

Source = Chartis
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