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More than a dozen countries from Aruba to Thailand require COVID-19 coverage for visitors


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COVID-19 travel insurance becoming a vacation staple

By Allison Lampert and Noor Zainab Hussain

 

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FILE PHOTO: Long-tail boats with tourists are seen in a beach in Koh Poda island near Krabi, Thailand October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File Photo

 

(Reuters) - COVID-19 insurance policies are increasingly joining passports and sunscreen as vacation staples, creating opportunities for insurers as more countries require mandatory coverage in case visitors fall ill from the coronavirus.

 

Airline bookings are on the rise in some regions, driving cautious hopes of a revival in summer traffic, but also raising fears among tourist destinations of getting hit with bills should vacationers become stranded by the virus.

 

More than a dozen countries from Aruba to Thailand require COVID-19 coverage for visitors, with Jordan the latest to consider such protections, organizers of an emergency services plan told Reuters.

 

The market for all types of COVID-19 travel coverage is estimated to be between $30 billion to $40 billion a year, according to travel insurance consultant Robyn Ingle, with companies like AXA and AIG underwriting protection.

 

But a surge in demand for COVID-19 coverage also means insurers could be on the hook for big payouts should another wave of infections lead to large numbers of cancellations or tourists getting sick.

 

"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.

 

COVID-19 insurance benefits typically cover treatment up to $100,000, and could include coronavirus testing costs and services like evacuation or local burial or cremation. These benefits, introduced by insurers in mid-2020, are sold either as add-ons or as separate policies with coverage for illness or quarantine.

 

Jeremy Murchland, president of Indiana-based travel insurance company Seven Corners, said travelers are now "more likely to insure their trips," as more countries require COVID-19 coverage. 

 

A travel insurance plan that includes trip protection, medical expense coverage for COVID-19 and protection for baggage and personal effects typically costs 4% to 8% of the dollar value of the trip, Murchland said.

 

While the pandemic has battered travel, demand for coverage has created opportunity for the hard-hit insurance industry and a niche to develop new products, companies said.

 

For example in June, Seven Corners introduced an optional medical travel plan with coverage for coronavirus expenses, Murchland said. By year's end, the product with coronavirus coverage generated about 80% of total medical travel plan sales.

 

Seven Corners also saw a 20% rise in travelers buying highly priced "cancel for any reason" policies in 2020. The policies cover cancellation costs related to the virus.

 

Some countries have mandated travel insurance for incoming visitors – either by including it in their entry or visa fees or by requiring proof of coverage, said insurer World Nomads.

 

Jordan is evaluating whether to require a mandatory flat fee for visitors as part of a program from Global Rescue and the Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council, said council co-chair Taleb Rifai. The program, which costs up to $100 per person, covers certain disasters and illnesses like COVID-19.

 

Jordan's Tourism Bureau was not available for comment.

 

It is not clear how coverage demand will evolve as many more people become inoculated against the coronavirus with vaccines.

 

Frank Comito, a special advisor to the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, said some budget travelers have complained about mandatory coverage. And some countries could discontinue or relax the requirement as "we move away from the pandemic."

 

Rifai, former secretary general of the UN's World Tourism Organization, said he expects countries will continue requiring coverage as the vaccines "will take years" to roll out globally.

 

(Reporting By Allison Lampert in Montreal and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bangaluru; Editing by Denny Thomas and Bill Berkrot)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2021-03-08
 
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Oh wow a feel good OP to justify the lunacy. Having your cake and eating it too. However, every traveler should have insurance, idiotic to not.

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5 hours ago, Youlike said:

And more and more people are refusing the vaccine, even the CEO from Pfizer refused to take it himself.


Pfizer CEO did not refuse the vaccine, he didn't want to jump the queue as is relatively young. Search it out...

And he's just had his first shot... https://www.axios.com/pfizer-ceo-coronavirus-vaccine-e7599596-a658-41ed-82fd-5389347c3f2b.html
 

Edited by Donga
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OK, I'm 81, can anyone tell me how much the insurance requirement to re-enter Thailand would cost at this point, or assuming it doesn't change for the rest of the year? I have no pre-existing conditions (one bad eye, but that doesn't count); health actually very good.

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Sure it will take a long period of time before the Thai's give up any demands for vaccinated people to travel free from money making addons and to enter the land of requirements 🤔

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7 hours ago, gunderhill said:

Let's  not forget only  a  THAI  insurance policy  will do if you want to come to  Thailand.

Is that 100% correct I thought any insurance from any country provided it met the criteria was ok ?

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4 hours ago, Enzian said:

OK, I'm 81, can anyone tell me how much the insurance requirement to re-enter Thailand would cost at this point, or assuming it doesn't change for the rest of the year? I have no pre-existing conditions (one bad eye, but that doesn't count); health actually very good.

 

for COVID only insurance, which everyone is required to have, neither your age nor your state of health matter, only the country of departure and duration of the policy (needs to be valid for the period of time you will be stamped in for)

 

You can see prices here

https://covid19.tgia.org/

 

If re-entering on an extension of stay based on marriage the COVID policy alone will do it.

 

But if re-entering on a retirement visa or an extension of stay based on retirement you will run into other requirements (40/400K) which are much harder to meet especially as some Embassies will accept only Thai policies and Thai companies will not newly insure past age 75. many prior threads on this (the so-ca;;ed O-A insurance but for some reason Embassies are now requiring it for non-O as well).

 

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11 hours ago, Youlike said:

And more and more people are refusing the vaccin, even the CEO from Pfizer refused to take it himself.

Get your facts right 

Albert Bourla, Pfizer's CEO, plans to take the vaccine – just not yet. Amy Rose, a spokesperson for Pfizer, told USA TODAY the focus for the initial doses is on priority groups defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"Dr. Bourla is looking forward to being vaccinated, and he will be at the earliest possible time," she said.

Bourla told CNBC on Dec. 14 that he and other Pfizer executives will not "cut the line" to receive the company's COVID-19 vaccine, pointing to the fact that he's 59 years old and in good health.

"As soon as I can, I will," he told CNBC.

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1 hour ago, bluedoc said:

Get your facts right 

Albert Bourla, Pfizer's CEO, plans to take the vaccine – just not yet. Amy Rose, a spokesperson for Pfizer, told USA TODAY the focus for the initial doses is on priority groups defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"Dr. Bourla is looking forward to being vaccinated, and he will be at the earliest possible time," she said.

Bourla told CNBC on Dec. 14 that he and other Pfizer executives will not "cut the line" to receive the company's COVID-19 vaccine, pointing to the fact that he's 59 years old and in good health.

"As soon as I can, I will," he told CNBC.

sounds like the CEO is studying how to talk like a Politician!!!

 - who are well known for doing the duck'n'cover when it comes to actually getting jabbed

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4 hours ago, tifino said:

sounds like the CEO is studying how to talk like a Politician!!!

 - who are well known for doing the duck'n'cover when it comes to actually getting jabbed

If you read the earlier part of the thread, you would have seen he has already had his first shot

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On 3/8/2021 at 1:47 PM, Jumbo1968 said:

Is that 100% correct I thought any insurance from any country provided it met the criteria was ok ?

I heard that too but good luck getting a letter from your insurance provider worded exactly the way Thai authorities want it. Likely possible but I have yet to see a template example.

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