Senator Markey’s 2018 report documented unfair and misleading advertising that travel insurance companies use to over-promise and under-deliver
Washington (March 19, 2020) – As the U.S. State Department announces a worldwide travel advisory asking U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) wrote to the United States Travel Insurance Association (USTIA) calling on American travel insurance companies to provide coverage to consumers who purchased travel insurance plans but whose claims related to the coronavirus are being denied. As many Americans follow the advice of public health officials to shorten or cancel their trips, consumers are turning to the travel insurance policies they purchased with the expectation that unexpected changes to their travel plans will be covered. But these travelers are discovering that, unless they fall ill from coronavirus, the travel insurance plans they purchased will not cover coronavirus-related claims. This is even more concerning to Americans overseas who have been forced to pay exorbitant prices for flights to return home in response to sudden changes such as the Trump administration’s European travel ban or a foreign country’s quarantine or lockdown.
“Individuals who travel now are placing themselves and others at legitimate risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus,” said Senator Markey. “Insurance companies should not be in the business of effectively encouraging travel in this emergency situation by refusing to honor travel insurance policies when consumers wish to cancel or change travel plans because their lives, and the lives of others, depend on it. For the health and financial security of the many Americans who are only now discovering the limits of the travel insurance policies they purchased, it is time for your industry to act and waive exclusions that foreclose coronavirus-based claims.”
A copy of Senator Markey’s letter can be found HERE.
In August 2018, Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, released “Flyer Beware: Is Travel Insurance Worth It?”, a report that documented the unfair and misleading advertising that travel insurance companies use to over-promise the benefits of the policies while under-delivering coverage for consumers who actually need it. Senator Markey detailed the extensive hidden exclusions that travel insurers used to deny coverage, including blanket exemptions for pandemics and epidemics and denials for “fear of travel”.