The excerpreted article was written by Christopher Elliott
It’s peak season for travel insurance claims, a time of year when vacationers are sending their reimbursement requests for their ill-fated year-end holiday getaways. If you’re one of the unlucky travelers who are about to file a claim, be careful to not make one of several common travel insurance mistakes,` any of which can potentially lead to a rejection of your claim.
Travel insurance claim denial rates are not publicly reported, but they are said to be somewhere between 2% and 5%.
Don’t worry, you can easily avoid the most common travel insurance claims mistakes. All you need is a cheat sheet of the most common claim mistakes and a few insider strategies for getting around them.
If you’ve purchased a policy through a third party, there’s good news: The company will help you and ensure that you’ve filed all the paperwork correctly. For example, G1G.com, a travel insurance comparison site, can process a claim either through a customer care representative or through an online portal.=
“Unfortunately not all travel insurance companies claims process are as easy as they should be,” says Zubair Jeewanjee, G1G’s CEO. “As a result, travelers often miss out on valuable compensation due to antiquated and time-consuming claims procedures. The best way to avoid claims mistakes is having us do it for you.”
These are the most common travel insurance mistakes
As a consumer advocate, I deal with travel insurance claims — especially denied travel insurance claims — on an almost daily basis. Travel insurance companies with great customer service reputations handle their claims quickly and fairly. Others — not so much.
It’s the perfect time to think about this problem. More people than ever will buy travel insurance in 2019. A survey by Squaremouth, a travel insurance site, predicts 24 percent more travelers will need to insure their international trips because of new travel regulations.
Here’s a list of common travel insurance mistakes:
That’s the most common obstacle to getting a travel insurance claim paid, according to Stan Sandberg, co-founder of TravelInsurance.com. “While not especially difficult, filing an accurate claim requires attention to detail and having your travel documents and receipts organized,” he says.
Insider tip: Keep either an electronic copy or hard copy of all of your travel purchases in one place. If you experience an unexpected issue while traveling that you believe is covered under your travel insurance, keep all of those receipts in a separate folder or envelope. “If you have to file a claim, you’ll already have most of your documents organized,” says Sandberg.
Another common claim problem: Your claim occurs before your effective date. “Most people naturally purchase coverage for the first day of their arrival at their destination,” explains Justin Tysdal, CEO of Seven Corners, a travel insurance company. “But what you may not think about is what can happen during your travel. Especially if you’re spending a whole day traveling across the world. You could sprain your wrist picking up heavy luggage, or you could eat some iffy airport food and end up sick. But if your coverage doesn’t start until the next day, you could be stuck with the doctor’s bill.”
Timing, as they say, is everything.
Another common timing problem is waiting too long to file the required paperwork. You typically have 90 days from the date of your loss to submit your claim. If you miss that deadline, you could get an automatic denial from a travel insurance company.
Insider tip: Make sure that coverage starts the day you begin your travel and that you file your claims paperwork as soon as you can. “Plan ahead so that if you do get sick or injured in an airport in a foreign country on a layover, you’ll be protected,” adds Tysdal.
This may be one of the biggest roadblocks of all. If you can’t prove you have a claim, you’re out of luck. “The biggest barrier to processing a claim is missing or inadequate documentation,” says Beth Godlin, president of Aon Affinity Travel Practice. “Just like with your auto or home insurance, when you file a travel insurance claim most plans require backup in order to process your claim.”
Insider tip: Providing correct, complete documentation from the start can mean faster reimbursement. To make sure you’ve covered everything, call your travel insurance provider or check its app or website to confirm what you need to submit. “Different scenarios require different documentation,” explains Godlin. “For example, travelers might need to provide a completed attending physician statement, along with the original trip itinerary, for a trip cancellation due to a medical reason. For a trip delay, they might need to provide receipts for extra costs incurred, or verification from their airline in order to be reimbursed.”
Filing an invalid claim
This is perhaps the most frustrating of all blocks, and it’s a permanent one. “When it comes time to file a travel insurance claim, many travelers don’t read the fine print of their policies,” explains Joe Cortez, NerdWallet’s travel expert. “Just because a plan says ‘trip cancellation,’ it doesn’t mean they can cancel their trip for any reason. It’s important for travelers to understand what situations are covered and not covered before they make any decisions about that would result in an insurance claim.”
For example, a State Department travel advisory may not be enough for a successful travel insurance claim, but getting involved in a car accident while on the way to the airport could be a covered situation.
Insider tip: You can avoid filing an invalid claim by understanding what’s in your travel insurance policy before you leave. And it works both ways, Cortez adds. “Many travelers don’t realize when they are covered under a travel insurance plan,” he notes. In other words, you might not file a travel insurance claim even though you were covered for the event.
What are your travel insurance claims stories?
I asked readers to share their favorite travel insurance claims stories, and, did I get an earful. It turns out that making a travel insurance claim mistake is too easy.
“Before you buy a policy, read it,” says Paula Miller, a retired teacher from Kitty Hawk, NC. “And known the difference between canceling for a covered reason or cancel for any reason.”
Miller bought insurance for her last trip through Expedia. Her mother-in-law died the day she was supposed to leave. Fortunately, she knew what was in her policy and what she had to send her insurance company.
“The claims process has been pretty smooth,” she says.
Shirley Kroot, a retired teacher from Huntley, Ill., says she’s learned to hold on to every piece of paper, particularly when she’s seeking medical attention.
“This would be the procedure for minor medical expenses, such as having a cold in a foreign country and going to a walk-in clinic or needing to go to the medical office due to a fractured clavicle on a ship,” she says. “I experienced both, the first in Perth, Australia, and the second on a cruise ship in Norway.”
Kroot says she buys all of her policies through Travelex Travel Insurance. “We have never had a problem with claims,” she says.
Choose the right policy for you to avoid a travel insurance claim mistake
I second that. I have an annual travel insurance policy through Allianz and have found that the claims process is dead simple and payment is lightning fast. My last claim, for a doctor’s visit on Hawaii’s Big Island, was processed within 24 hours — now that’s quick!
Even better: Having a third party like G1G or Squaremouth that can advocate for you if something goes sideways with your claim. I also have some claim advice on my consumer advocacy site, just in case your claim falls through the cracks.
Bottom line — chances are you’ll buy travel insurance this year. And if you have to file a claim, you can avoid a rejection by reading your policy, ensuring your paperwork is in order and filing on time.
Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t.
I’m a consumer advocate. I write about customer service.
BY USMAN QURESHI | IC
US-based medical insurance firm Aetna and Apple have teamed up for a new iOS app called ‘Attain’, that provides rewards to members who engage in healthy behaviours, such as getting regular exercise and more hours of sleep. The app will be released later this year for both the iPhone and the Apple Watch (via CNBC).
The upcoming app, which the two companies have been working on since 2016, also provides enrolled Aetna members with reminders like getting an annual flu shot or taking their medication on time. Users who aren’t signed up with Aetna can also earn rewards, including a free Apple Watch, through other wellness programs.
Users who enroll with Aetna but don’t already have an Apple Watch will receive a Series 3 device from Aetna with the option to pay out of pocket for an upgrade to the latest series 4. They can then “earn” back the price of the device over the next two years by meeting fitness goals.
“Alternatively, points can be used to redeem things like corporate gift cards. Those who stop participating may be required to pay a portion of the Apple Watch out-of-pocket. But Aetna said that members can notify its customer service team if they have a health issue, such as a surgery or pregnancy, that might prevent them from meeting their goals.”
The program is voluntary and is eligible to Aetna members with an iPhone 5s or later. You can get more information at this link.
In Canada, Canadians can get rewards from the Manulife Vitality program, which integrates with Apple Watch.
BY KATHLEEN RONAYNE,
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Insurance claims from California’s deadly November 2018 wildfires have topped $11.4 billion.
State Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said Monday that more than $8 billion worth of damage comes from the fire that levelled the town of Paradise and killed 86 people. About $3 billion more is from two Southern California wildfires that ignited the same week.
The $11.4 billion is just shy of the claims filed in a series of 2017 wildfires, including deadly blazes that tore through Northern California wine country.
The Paradise wildfire destroyed about double the number of homes than the wine country fires, but property values are lower in the rural Northern California region.
Including other major California fires in July 2018, total insurance claims from the year neared $12.4 billion.
Source: The Associated Press
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., Jan. 8, 2019 /CNW/ — As business decision-makers look to the year ahead, it is critical to address existing and new cyber security concerns. To help with that process, Chubb has launched its first annual cyber security predictions, which focus on the top risks in 2019 and beyond.
“The cyber risk landscape is constantly evolving — it’s vital to stay on top of potential risks as they emerge,” said Michael Tanenbaum, Head of Chubb Cyber North America. “We expect shifts in the regulatory landscape, changes to the fundamental models of cyber crime, and additional risks brought on by the explosive growth in Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It is critical to stay abreast of these things in 2019.”
“Throughout the years, we have seen everything from Y2K to today’s mega-breaches and the evolution of cyber crime,” said Bill Stewart, Division President of Chubb’s Global Cyber Risk practice. “We continue to stay ahead of the latest cyber risks to help our clients protect against and respond to an ever-increasing cyber threat.”
Chubb, an innovator in the cyber insurance space, has more than 20 years of experience writing cyber insurance policies. Based on that experience, the Chubb Cyber practice has issued the following three cyber security predictions for 2019 and beyond:
Cybersecurity regulation and enforcement will increase and focus more on actions taken by businesses pre-incident,in addition to post-incident protocol.
Until now, regulatory efforts have largely focused on steps businesses must take after a cyber incident, including fixing vulnerabilities, notifying law enforcement, and notifying customers. Chubb anticipates this will change as lawmakers also focus regulatory attention on companies’ data collection and data usage practices, as well as on the actions that organizations should take to better prevent a cyber incident from occurring in the first place. This phenomenon has already begun to take hold in the United States with laws such as the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) Cybersecurity Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act, which have put new obligations on organizations to not only protect the information they collect, but also to ensure that they are allowed to collect such information, that they are using that information legally, and that they remain responsible for that information when they share it with a third party.
Additionally, this trend has been seen globally, which impacts many more businesses now than ever before. The internet and virtual connection has provided great opportunity to many organizations, but it could also be subjecting them to the laws of the jurisdictions in which their new customers reside. Thus, organizations not only need to ensure that they are in compliance with the laws of the state in which they physically operate, but also determine if they are subject to the laws of the locations where they virtually operate. In the coming years, organizations of all sizes can expect to see increased data regulation in the United States and abroad, which will focus on data privacy, data use, as well as data security.
Crime does pay, and business is booming: the business model of cyber crime will tilt heavily toward direct monetization attacks.
During the past 20 years, the dark market has become saturated with private records and personally identifiable information (PII). In 2019, rather than seeking additional PII, cyber criminals will prioritize attacks that result in direct monetization as they operationalize PII that they’ve already obtained. In order to pursue these types of attacks, criminals will continue to employ ransomware.
Already a threat on the rise, ransomware will continue to grow and will remain a top cyber threat for the next five years, and will become even more destructive and costly. Social engineering financial fraud also will ramp up, and cryptojacking — the unauthorized use of someone’s computer to mine cryptocurrency — will be employed heavily by cyber criminals.
Cyber criminals will target individuals just as much as businesses as billions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices come online.
As billions of additional IoT devices come online during the next year, cyber criminals will have even more avenues to target individuals. As device use overlaps between enterprise and individual, we will see more targeted ransomware and phishing attacks. Video and audio capabilities on devices — from smartphones to refrigerators, smart assistant devices, and nanny-cams— will help cyber criminals gather personal information and images. Bad actors can gain access to businesses through personal devices — particularly when businesses allow individuals to connect with their personal devices through an enterprise server. As an increasing number of IoT devices come online, businesses will need to monitor vigilantly to intercept and short-circuit cyber risks.
As always, business leaders should look to defend their companies from cyber attacks rather than react to cyber attacks. As cyber threats evolve, cyber insurance will play a key role in the awareness, preparedness, and resiliency of governments, corporations, and individuals.
To learn more, visit www.chubb.com/cyber. Here you will find a host of cyber-related resources, including access to The Chubb Cyber IndexSM, which provides real-time access to proprietary Chubb claims data and insight into current cyber threats and how you can protect your company against them.
Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and the largest commercial insurer in the United States. With operations in 54 countries and territories, Chubb provides commercial and personal property and casualty insurance, personal accident and supplemental health insurance, reinsurance and life insurance to a diverse group of clients. As an underwriting company, we assess, assume and manage risk with insight and discipline. We service and pay our claims fairly and promptly. The company is also defined by its extensive product and service offerings, broad distribution capabilities, exceptional financial strength and local operations globally. Parent company Chubb Limited is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: CB) and is a component of the S&P 500 index. Chubb maintains executive offices in Zurich, New York, London and other locations, and employs approximately 31,000 people worldwide. Additional information can be found at: chubb.com.
By Jonathan J. Cooper
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SACRAMENTO, Calif. _ Several insurance companies have filed lawsuits blaming Pacific Gas & Electric Co. for a deadly California wildfire that destroyed 14,000 homes and triggered billions of dollars in insurance claims.
The lawsuits filed by Allstate, State Farm, USAA and their subsidiaries come on top of several other cases filed by victims of the Camp Fire, which devastated the towns of Paradise, Magalia and Concow north of Sacramento after it started Nov. 8.
Investigators have not pinpointed a cause for the fire. But the insurance companies note in their lawsuits that flames ignited near the site of a transmission-line irregularity reported by the utility. They also note a potential second ignition point involving PG&E distribution lines.
Under California law, PG&E is held entirely liable if lawyers can prove the fire is linked to the utility’s power lines or other equipment a fact that sent shares of the company tumbling following the start of the fire.
Following a series of deadly fires in 2017 in Northern California’s wine country, PG&E executives and lobbyists tried to convince state lawmakers to change the legal standard and reduce the company’s liability. Lawmakers declined, but they allowed the company to pass along some of the costs from the 2017 fires to its customers in hopes of sparing it from bankruptcy. The law does not help the company for the 2018 blazes.
The lawsuits were filed last month in Sacramento County Superior Court. They were first reported by the Sacramento Business Journal.
“We are aware of lawsuits regarding the Camp Fire,” Lynsey Paulo, a PG&E spokeswoman, said in a statement. “Our focus continues to be on assessing infrastructure to further enhance safety and helping our customers recover and rebuild.”
PG&E, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities with more than 5 million customers in Northern and Central California, is facing legal and regulatory challenges on a number of fronts, including the potential for criminal charges.
The California attorney general told a judge last week that PG&E could face charges as serious as involuntary manslaughter or murder if investigators determine that reckless operation or maintenance of power equipment caused any recent wildfires in the state.
A federal judge overseeing a case that resulted in a criminal conviction for the company following a 2010 pipeline explosion has asked PG&E to explain any role it may have had in the Camp Fire. The judge could impose new requirements on the utility if it’s found to have violated its probation in the pipeline case.