05 March 2020
Travel insurance update for business customers on the recent coronavirus outbreak
With the spread of coronavirus causing global concern, the news today that Flybe has gone into administration will lead to many questions over travel arrangements for your staff.
In general, travel insurers compensate for cancellations only under certain circumstances:
- The FCO advises against travel to the booked destination, and
- The traveller has already contacted their airline or travel provider to change dates or arrange a refund but has been unsuccessful.
Many policies provide cover for cancellation and curtailment where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice has changed after you purchased your policy or booked your trip, whichever is later. If you buy a policy for a destination where an outbreak has been reported or a travel advisory notice is already in place, then coronavirus claims are unlikely to be considered by your insurer.
Your travel policy wording sets out exactly what is and isn’t covered. If you’re unsure about this or have questions, please call your adviser who will be happy to help.
You should monitor the situation through official sources such as:
- Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO): gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china
- World Health Organisation (WHO): who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
The majority of Flybe travellers bought flight tickets separately. This means that they will not be covered by the ATOL scheme which provides protection for package holidays.
Whether your travel insurance covers the administration depends on whether your policy includes 'Scheduled Airline Failure' (SAFI) cover. If you do not have SAFI, you will be unable to claim on your travel insurance policy.
If you use a travel management company for your flight bookings, you should contact them to secure either an alternative flight or a refund.
If you have paid more than £100 on flights directly with Flybe on a credit card, you should be able to claim a refund for the flight from your card provider. This is known as section 75 protection and is part of the Consumer Credit Act.
For cheaper purchases, or if a debit card was used, you can try claiming from your debit card provider under the chargeback system, although this is not a legal right and not always successful.