Insurance sector chief warns customers to check premiums before travelling

Insurance sector chief warns customers to check premiums before travelling
Moyagh Murdock of Insurance Ireland said customers should check their premiums before travelling. Picture: Brian Lawless

The chief executive of Ireland’s representative body for the insurance industry has advised confused consumers to check with their insurer before travelling abroad to be sure their cover remains intact.

Moyagh Murdock said Ireland’s main insurers will be providing travel insurance to countries on the Government’s travel green list; the 15 countries to which travel to and from does not require a mandatory two-week period of self-isolation due to Covid-19.

And, while this will include Covid-related cover, Ms Murdock urged people to be cautious.

“You do need to check with that provider to make sure that it is one of the (ones providing cover),” Ms Murdock told RTE’s Today with Sarah McInerney.

She added it is important to note that the green list “is under review". It will be reviewed at least every two weeks. 

“We can expect changes to that," she said.

Ms Murdock said that should someone travel to a green list country only for it to change status during their visit, they will, nevertheless, remain covered by their insurance policy. 

This is likely to be a relief for some who would have seen the UK Government change travel advice for Spain with minimal notice, leaving many holidaymakers required to quarantine on their return home, despite that requirement not standing when they left for their holiday.

She said that while Insurance Ireland is “aware” of people trying to get refunds for trips booked in advance of the emergence of the coronavirus health crisis in February, it remains “more complex than just putting in an insurance claim… because there is a chain of events”.

They include whether or not your airline will offer a refund, while some carriers have been “very slow to respond to requests for refunds”.

Although insurers have been paying out Moyagh Murdock cannot confirm a blanket guarantee 

She said “by and large” for those who booked their holidays before lockdown that “insurers have been paying out”.

She acknowledged, though, there is no “consistent approach across the board”, with some airlines refunding while others hold firm in not doing so and citing the fact the flights are still departing as evidence that refunds are not necessary.

In terms of a blanket guarantee that insurers will be refunding holiday costs Ms Murdock she she “can’t confirm 100%”. 

“I wouldn’t like to say it. But I am aware definitely that they have been refunding holidays right through this period," she said.

She said that €250m is currently being paid out each week in claims “across the board in all areas of insurance”.

Regarding motor insurance rebates, delivered due to the far lower levels of vehicular traffic seen during lockdown, she said that Ireland’s providers for that sector have given back more than €56m in such policy refunds to date.

“While there was a lot less traffic on the roads there were still a lot of serious collisions taking place” during lockdown, she said.

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