Direct Line backs down from T5 stand

Insurance companies have resumed covering travellers from T5

Travel Insurance News - 21/04/2008

<< BA loses another supermodel’s bags | Travel News | Travel insurance more important now than ever before >>

Faced with almost inevitable baggage problems at T5, several insurance companies declared that they would no longer provide coverage for travelers flying from the terminal. However, Direct Line, Churchill and Tesco have all backed down from their T5 ban, resuming coverage this week.

The insurers are part of the Royal Bank of Scotland group. The companies took a strong stand against Heathrow, however, were unable to convince others to follow suite.

RBS justified its initial decision to withdraw coverage saying that insurance does not cover people who put themselves in peril knowingly.

"We can only pay out for events the customer is unaware of at the time of purchase, not for those that have happened. We don't cover medical conditions existing when the policy is taken out, for example," said a spokesperson from RBC.

Others in the industry failed to agree, however. A spokesperson from Norwich Union said: "We will cover customers for delays and lost baggage at Terminal 5. We are not making any changes to exclude claims from T5 policyholders as we don't feel that this would be treating customers fairly. We don't think it is fair to penalise customers for problems at Heathrow as they often don't have a choice of which terminal they fly from."

According to Steve Hook at Mondial Assistance, Direct Line has only added “misery for travellers” by their decision.

Christian Young, chief executive of AA Travel Insurance, says: "Withdrawing cover at a time when customers rely on their travel insurance seems an extraordinary step."

Faced with such criticisms, RBC has backed down and reinstated insurance for T5 travellers. A spokesperson said: : "As a gesture of goodwill, Direct Line (and other insurers in the group) will be taking a sympathetic view of claims against flight disruptions or lost and delayed baggage at T5 since its opening - irrespective of when the policy was bought. We have so far agreed to pay all claims for lost luggage. We have changed our stance as British Airways says the terminal is now operating normally."

<< BA loses another supermodel’s bags | Travel News | Travel insurance more important now than ever before >>