Latest Zika virus insurance guidance

  • Those with serious health problems are being directed to seek medical advice before travelling to areas with active Zika virus transmission
  • Latest Foreign and Commonwealth Office guidelines warn pregnant women to reconsider travel plans to at-risk countries
  • We look at the latest guidance and how it affects our travel insurance policies

Zurich Business Travel (including ZM School Journey) Policies

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice website for affected destinations is linking to specialist advice on the Zika virus, where the headline message is:

“Pregnant travellers and those with serious health problems are advised to seek advice from a health professional before travel to areas with active ZIKV transmission; pregnant women are advised to reconsider travel plans.”

Medical Expenses Insurance

Zurich does not exclude emergency medical costs associated with pregnancy per se. However, the key exclusion is that of travel against medical advice (that of a Medical Practitioner).

Insured Persons falling into the two above “at risk” categories should seek and follow medical advice. The virus may well manifest itself during a journey, since its incubation period from infection is believed to be a few days to a week.

It is generally observed that the symptoms are relatively mild in the vast majority of cases.

The suspected effect of the virus on the un-born child is outside the scope of the insurance as far as it relates to medical expenses incurred during a journey. However, pregnant Insured Persons will have concerns over undertaking a journey to a destination where Zika is evident and this will be a consideration under Cancellation cover.

Cancellation Insurance

Where a journey has already been booked by a pregnant Insured Person prior to the destination being declared at risk for Zika, then the Cancellation section of the policy will apply. Similarly, if pregnancy is confirmed after the trip was booked to a known Zika risk area, Zurich will also consider a claim for Cancellation will ensue.

Where the journey is already taking place in an area that is declared officially at risk of Zika during that journey, there is cover under the Cancellation section for Curtailment where the pregnant Insured Person wishes to return early.

However, if a trip is booked by a pregnant Insured Person to a destination already declared at risk for Zika then Cancellation cover will not apply.

Destinations “at risk” will be those officially designated by the World Health Organisation and are likely to be mirrored on the FCO website.

If you wish to discuss the circumstances of a particular trip, please approach your usual Claims contact. If you require more information on the practicalities of the “against medical advice” exclusion, please ask your Underwriting contact.