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Thread: Trip Insurance Issue: Read & Contact DAN

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    Trip Insurance Issue: Read & Contact DAN

    If you are a DAN member, and if you have ever considered purchasing trip cancellation insurance, read on:

    I was scheduled to make a cave diving trip to Mexico starting May 2. With the Swine Flu outbreak looming, I purchased trip insurance through DAN since that organization provides insurance geared toward divers. (The insurance provided medical coverage, and trip cancellation coverage.) As the date of my trip approached, I decided that it would be smart to delay my trip rather than take a risk by going forward with my plans. This was when the fun started.

    I heard on the news that many airlines were waiving charges for changes to tickets under the circumstances, and this was confirmed on my selected airline's web site. However, I still had to reach my dive provider (which I provided a hefty deposit), and my booked hotel via email (which I had paid for in full ahead of time), which always takes a good amount of time. With things in doubt, I figured that this would be a good time to contact DAN's insurance carrier about the potential insurance claim that was on the horizon.

    I was shocked to find the insurance carrier saying that, inasmuch as there was "only" a "travel advisory," and not a prohibition from the government from travel to Mexico, they would not pay a trip cancellation or delay claim. Since I was still hopeful to reschedule my trip, I asked if I could switch the dates of coverage to my new intended dates of travel without having to pay for a second policy. I was told that the insurance company would take this under consideration, and that I would have to jump through hoops (my words, not theirs) by sending written requests and the usual stalling paperwork that would almost certainly not end up in a decision before my next intended date of travel. They "might" make a special exception to change the coverage dates without charging more.

    Okay, not everything coming from the insurer's representative was completely cold. The representative suggested that I contact DAN Member Services to see if they could do anything about getting the effective dates of coverage changed without additional charges. So, that was my next move.

    I then contacted DAN Member Services to voice my concern that a medical based organization for divers would force their membership to have to make a decision to either lose their trip costs by taking a prudent medical precaution by not making trips to Mexico, or, even worse, feeling forced, by financial circumstances, to go forward with their scheduled dive trips to Mexico, and thereafter becoming seriously ill or worse. How could an organization made up of medical professionals take such a stance?

    Meanwhile, I was lucky enough to find that my booked hotel would have no problem switching dates. Ditto for the airline due to these special circumstances (and without incurring a charge). Although things at first were not certain with the dive shop, this also finally worked out. So, I requested that DAN would at least change my dates of coverage without forcing me to pay for a second policy.

    After a day or so, DAN Member Services informed me that they would make this "exception," changing my dates of coverage. However, I never got a final answer about whether they would be willing to change their policy coverage in the future to prevent other divers from having to decide about risking money or taking a health chance on a trip to a zone with a "travel advisory." The DAN representative told me that DAN is taking this issue "under consideration."

    If you are a DAN member, it is time for you to contact DAN to inform them of your stance as a member on this issue. Medical organizations should provide proper insurance coverage for divers that does not potentially push them to jeopardize their health in the face of a significant financial expense. DAN needs to change its cancellation insurance coverage to automatically include cancellations due to health-based trip advisories, period. This should not be a "special exception."

    I don't want other divers out there to have to make the tough decision that I was almost forced to make. Please contact DAN (you can even fill out the "Contact DAN" form on their web site) to voice your concern as a member. If enough members contact them to voice our opinion, I would imagine that DAN will realize how strongly the membership feels about this issue. It might help sway the policy decision in the favor of diver members.

  2. #2

    Re: Trip Insurance Issue: Read & Contact DAN

    Hem i'll be not making friends on this but, nothing forced you to change your projects as there was no formal interdiction to go there isn't it? So you ask the insurance company to cover the cost of your own decision (well sane decision in fact but still your own)? I can understand the answer you had it's not an accident or any thing out of your sphere of responsability that put you in this situation.

    Regards.

    Nicolas.

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    Re: Trip Insurance Issue: Read & Contact DAN

    This was similar to an event we had when a hurricane was bearing down on Coz. All the dive boats were already pulled from the water before we were scheduled to leave and most of the island boarded up. We opted not to go, our trip insurance wouldn't pay off. Hell even the airlines charged us change fees because we were making the choice before they decided to cancel flights.

    While I understand your frustration, it sounds like the outcome was overall good for you. If your petition works what we'll likely see is an increase in cost for trip insurance as companies must then adjust their cost calculations for risks that aren't large enough to stop flights but large enough to scare off some travellers.

    --Paul

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    Re: Trip Insurance Issue: Read & Contact DAN

    In the "General Exclusions" section of the policy, it states: "This plan does not cover any insured Loss caused by or resulting from . . . any Trip taken outside the advice of a Physician." In other words, if a physician advises against making the trip, and you, the insured, decide to make it anyway, you are not covered, and the insurer will not pay.

    In this case, both national and world health agency physicians advised not to make such a trip. Additionally, I am willing to bet you that not one person's personal physician would advise in favor of making this trip during the current outbreak. Would yours have told you to make the trip under the circumstances?

    Given this situation, the insurer should have provided coverage in the event that I would have needed to rely on this. It isn't fair that the insurer should profit from premiums while retaining the right to deny coverage due to a policy exclusion (travel against advise of a physician) on the one hand while stating that a "mere" national and world health travel advisory is not sufficient to trigger coverage on the other hand. Does that seem fair to you?

    It just doesn't seem right to me that a medical organization,DAN, should ally itself with a position that forces its paying members to have to decide to risk contracting a serious illness in this way. So, I decided to do something about it by bringing this to your attention, and by giving you a vehicle to potentially correct the situation.

    No matter how you feel about the situation, DAN has indicated that it would consider revising future policies to provide coverage in such an instance. If enough members voice their opinions, perhaps we can prevent someone from contracting a serious illness (or worse) after making a pressured decision to make such a trip in the future.

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    Re: Trip Insurance Issue: Read & Contact DAN

    Quote Originally Posted by ScubaDadMiami  View Original Post
    In the "General Exclusions" section of the policy, it states: "This plan does not cover any insured Loss caused by or resulting from . . . any Trip taken outside the advice of a Physician." In other words, if a physician advises against making the trip, and you, the insured, decide to make it anyway, you are not covered, and the insurer will not pay.

    In this case, both national and world health agency physicians advised not to make such a trip. Additionally, I am willing to bet you that not one person's personal physician would advise in favor of making this trip during the current outbreak. Would yours have told you to make the trip under the circumstances?

    Given this situation, the insurer should have provided coverage in the event that I would have needed to rely on this. It isn't fair that the insurer should profit from premiums while retaining the right to deny coverage due to a policy exclusion (travel against advise of a physician) on the one hand while stating that a "mere" national and world health travel advisory is not sufficient to trigger coverage on the other hand. Does that seem fair to you?

    It just doesn't seem right to me that a medical organization,DAN, should ally itself with a position that forces its paying members to have to decide to risk contracting a serious illness in this way. So, I decided to do something about it by bringing this to your attention, and by giving you a vehicle to potentially correct the situation.

    No matter how you feel about the situation, DAN has indicated that it would consider revising future policies to provide coverage in such an instance. If enough members voice their opinions, perhaps we can prevent someone from contracting a serious illness (or worse) after making a pressured decision to make such a trip in the future.
    I suspect that policy statement is with regard to suitability of the health of the diver to dive and not with regard to health warnings issued by government agencies. If your interpretation of the wording is correct then there's nothing to talk to DAN about. If it is not it will still mean that the price of trip insurance will rise to take into account the options of travelers cancelling of their own volition.

    While I was on Coz during the "outbreak" I met two people that worked for a 50 doctor medical clinic who arrived during the "warning period". One of the doctors they worked for wrote them a script for Tamiflu should the need arise but that was about it.

    I had left the states 2 days before the warning that no unnecessary travel to Mexico was being advised but was on the first flight out that TSA was handing out written warnings basically saying "stay away from sick people" and watch for such and such symptoms.

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