Daily Management Review

For Travellers, Covid-19 Travel Insurance Is Now Becoming Mandatory


Insurance policies against Covid-19 while travelling or going on vacations are becoming as common as ensuring having passports and sunscreen which is expected to boost the insurance sector with more countries making it mandatory for travellers and holidayers to have such insurance in the eventuality of visitors becoming ill from the disease.  
There are muted hopes of a revival of summer traffic with airline bookings on the rise in some regions. However there are also fears among tourist destinations about being hit by bills in the eventuality of vacationers being left stranded by the disease.
Possessing Covid-19 insurance has been made mandatory for visitors by over a dozen countries - from Aruba to Thailand. The latest country to join this group was Jordan, according to reports quoting information from organizers of an emergency services plan.
According to travel insurance consultant Robyn Ingle, the value of total market for all forms of travel insurance against Covid-19 is estimated to be between $30 billion to $40 billion annually with underwriting protection being offered by companies like AXA and AIG.
However an increase in demand for Covid-19 related travel insurance also pots insurance companies on the risk of facing big payouts in the eventuality of another break out of the pandemic results in a large number of trip cancellations or if tourists fall ill to the virus.
"Travel insurance and protection services are taking off at pace with travel as it resumes,” said Dan Richards, chief executive for travel risk and crisis management firm Global Rescue.
Typically, treatment of upto $100,000 is provided by Covid-19 insurance benefits and Covid-19 testing expenditure and services like evacuation or local burial or cremation could be included in such insurance. Insurers introduced these benefits for Covid-19 sometime in the middle of last year and these policies are sold to customers either as add-ons or as separate policies that covers costs for illness treatment or quarantine.
With more countries making it mandatory to have Covid-19 insurance, travelers are now "more likely to insure their trips," said Jeremy Murchland, president of Indiana-based travel insurance company Seven Corners.
Murchland said that trip protection, medical expense coverage against Covid-19 and protection for baggage and personal effects are offered by a typical travel insurance policy and accounts for between 4 per cent and 8 per cent of the dollar value of a trip.
Companies said that an opportunity for developing new products which could boost the pandemic hit insutr5ance industry with the pandemic hitting the travel industry significantly hard.
Insurer World Nomads said that there are two ways that some countries are making Covid-19 insurance mandatory for incoming visitors – either by including the insurance costs in the entry and visa fees or by mandating documentation proof of such coverage to be shown by travellers. 
But with more people being inoculated against the disease by application of Covid-19 vaccines, the future for demand for Covid-19 coverage is unclear.
Complains about mandatory Covid-19 insurance have been registered by some budget travellers, said Frank Comito, a special advisor to the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association. And as "we move away from the pandemic", some countries could discontinue or relax the requirement, Comito said.