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Travellers urged to check insurance in wake of Coronavirus

The Insurance Council of New Zealand is urging people to seek more information following the recent outbreak of Novel Coronavirus in Wuhan, China, in late December 2019.

ICNZ cautions that broad exclusions normally apply for pandemics and epidemics.

"Global pandemics are generally not insurable and haven’t been for a long time," says chief executive of ICNZ Tim Grafton.

"This is because insurers can’t measure or understand what potential losses could eventuate from an outbreak of an infectious disease like this."

As the situation continues to evolve ICNZ urges those who have purchased travel insurance to speak with their insurer to clarify what cover they may have.

"We are aware that some insurers continue to offer cover. However, we would strongly advise anyone who is concerned about their insurance cover, or looking to amend their travel in response to the outbreak, to contact their travel agent or airline in their first instance or speak with their insurer before they make any changes," says Tim.

While the World Health Organisation is yet to issue any formal advice, New Zealand government’s official advisory site Safe Travel is now advising against travel to Hubei Province and many insurers have issued travel advisories with guidelines on what cover may or may not be available under their policies.

ICNZ says the effects of the outbreak may also be felt by the business community.

"Unfortunately, the same exclusions would apply which means there would likely be no cover for loss or damage to property, or interruption or interference to the insured business as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak."

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