Business Travel and the Zika Virus
24th February 2016
The FCO travel advice website for affected destinations offers a link to specialist advice on this (National Travel Health Network & Centre) 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
Some insurers do 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.
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, many insurers will also consider a claim for Cancellation.
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 or require more information on the practicalities of the “against medical advice” exclusion, please ask your insurance broker.