As the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is regularly changing its advice regarding which countries people can travel to safely and without quarantine restrictions, there has been much confusion and concern among travellers about the validity of their insurance policies. ROCK Insurance’s updated travel insurance policies, which cover consumers choosing to travel against FCO advice, provide a much-needed safety net.
Hatching a plan to tackle dwindling customer confidence
Back in June 2020, ROCK hosted several discussions to help the industry address changing customer needs. The insurance group reasoned that at the time, many travel insurance policies did not adequately cover Covid-19 risks for consumers. A month later, ROCK announced a new line of Covid-19 protection products for the travel industry, including travel insurance that includes pre-departure cancellation should customers test positive for Covid-19 before travelling.
Now deciding to offer cover for those travelling against FCO advice, ROCK has once again updated its policies to reflect evolving customer needs. The FCO is adding and removing countries from its ‘green list’ so often now that customers are losing confidence in the travel booking process. By providing cover for travel against FCO advice, as well as for Covid-19-related needs, ROCK is supporting the revival of consumer confidence in the travel industry.
“Due to the continuous updates to travel restrictions, we wanted to bring an option to market that allows travel against FCO advice, as it is becoming difficult and expensive to administer all the changes and consumers need to have flexible products they can trust,” said Antony Martin, Managing Director at ROCK Insurance Group. “Our goal is for consumers to continue their holiday plans as normal which will be key to rebuilding the travel industry.”
Cover against FCO advice and for Covid-related issues
ROCK Insurance’s updated policies now offer cover to consumers choosing to travel against FCO advice – but only when travelling to European countries and only when it relates to Covid-19 – while also protecting them from Covid-related issues pre-departure and abroad. Rock notes that exclusions will still apply for all other reasons, such as natural disasters and civil unrest.
Pre-trip cover protects policyholders if they:
- Test positive for coronavirus within 14 days before their holiday;
- Have been hospitalised within 28 days of their holiday; or
- Are not allowed to board their flight as a result of a positive coronavirus test or raised temperature.
In addition, the policy can be cancelled if the UK or the customer’s local area enters lockdown again within 14 days of purchase.
During a trip, policyholders are covered for accommodation and medical costs if they have checked in at their holiday accommodation, but the property needs to close because of coronavirus, or if they catch coronavirus whilst abroad. Rock Insurance’s policies also cover customers if they require medical repatriation.
Wider industry rollout
While the updated FCO-related policy is currently only applicable to European destinations, ROCK Insurance Group is working on including other non-European countries, which the company plans to announce soon.
“Our goal is for consumers to continue their holiday plans as normal, which will be key to rebuilding the travel industry,” Martin added. “We are expecting an exceptionally strong conversion as it ultimately provides the customer with the protection and confidence they really need to travel.”