Samoa is currently in the midst of a serious measles outbreak, with reports noting that 60 people have died as a result of the virus. Children have made up the majority of deaths, with 54 of the 60 being reported as being under the age of 15.
The New Zealand government (via https://www.safetravel.govt.nz/news/measles) advises those travelling overseas to ensure that they are fully immunised against measles before travelling, adding that in American Samoa and Tokelau, for example, visitors are now being asked to prove that they have been immunised before entering the countries.
How will your travel insurance policy respond to this situation?
Your policy provides a number of benefits, conditions, limits and exclusions that may be relevant to your travel plans. Your cover will depend on the type of plan you purchased and your circumstances. We will assess all claims in accordance with your Policy Wording and your Certificate of Insurance.
If you entered into a policy before 9AM (NZT) Thursday 5 December 2019:
If you are currently travelling:
It is always our priority to assist our customers where possible and within our ability to do so.
- If your transport is delayed or cancelled due to the measles outbreak in Samoa, you may be able to claim for travel delay benefits or additional travel, accommodation and meal expenses. We will automatically extend the coverage period on your policy until you are able to return to New Zealand.
- Terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply under your policy. For full details, you should refer to the Policy Wording and Certificate of Insurance you received when you purchased your travel insurance.
If you have not yet departed:
- If your pre-booked travel arrangements are cancelled, delayed or rescheduled because of the measles outbreak, you may be able to make a claim to rearrange your journey. Please refer to your Policy Wording for the terms, conditions, limits and exclusions that apply.
- If your travel arrangements have been affected, contact your travel agent or travel provider regarding the best option in altering your trip. Some travel providers may provide penalty free options to amend travel arrangements and they should be able to provide further details.
- At this stage, there is no cancellation cover for customers that do not wish to travel from New Zealand as a result of the measles outbreak in Samoa. You should, of course, ensure that all of those travelling have been vaccinated.
If you entered into a policy after 9am (NZT) Thursday 5 December 2019:
- We would expect that this was done with an awareness of the measles outbreak. For these policies, we will not pay any claim caused by or in any way connected with this event. Our policies do not cover claims for losses caused by something that you were aware of at the time of purchasing your policy.
What next steps should you take?
You should try to minimise your expenses including rearranging your journey where possible. If you have been using, for example, two-star accommodation on your trip to date, then any replacement accommodation should be of a similar standard.
Keep all receipts for any additional transport, food or accommodation expenses. If you are claiming cancellation or additional expenses you will need to submit documents showing what your original planned pre-paid arrangements were, along with any receipts and documents showing your new arrangements, and advice from the travel provider indicating the non-refundable portion of the journey.