Alianz Assistance

Ebola Outbreak

This statement is issued by Allianz Global Assistance (AGA) on 25 November 2014 and is subject to change in the event of any further developments 

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia except for those involved in the direct response to the Ebola outbreak, due to the narrow commercial options for flights and the impact of the outbreak on medical facilities. The severity of the warning is currently the second most severe offered by the FCO – exceeded only by a warning against “all travel”.

The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern.’ British Airways has suspended flights to Sierra Leone and Liberia until 31 March 2015 due to the deteriorating public health situation. Air France has suspended flights to Sierra Leone and some other airlines have also suspended flights to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

There are various reports that borders with neighbouring countries have been closed and increased security measures at airports. 

Nigeria and Senegal were declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organisation on 20th and 17th October respectively. The FCO however still advise against travel to large areas of Nigeria for other reasons.

How does the Ebola outbreak affect travel insurance policies?
Travel insurance policies underwritten by AGA International SA, exclude cover for claims relating to one or more of the following:
•    travelling to a country, specific area or event where the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), World Health Organisation (WHO) or  any other government or official body has advised against all, or all but essential, travel:
•    an epidemic or pandemic;  
•    disinclination to travel.  

If a customer chooses to travel to a country or area where the FCO, WHO or other official body has already advised against travel, unfortunately they will not be covered under their travel insurance policy. 

•    Any customers with existing travel plans to Ebola-affected countries or neighbouring countries should in the first instance contact their travel provider to confirm the position regarding a refund or transfer of the trip to an alternative destination.
•    If the customer's trip is cancelled their policy can be cancelled and the premium refunded (single trip policies only).
•    For customers whose trip is transferred to a new destination, they can also transfer their policy to cover the new destination and dates.
Note: Any increase in the original premium paid will need to be paid if, for example, the new trip is longer or to a higher rated geographical area.
•    For travel to other countries currently unaffected by the Ebola outbreak, travel insurance cover will continue under the standard terms of the policy.

General Advice on Ebola
Although the chances of being infected remain low, there are measures you can take to prevent catching Ebola. You should follow the health advice issued by the National Travel Health Network and Centre to:
•    avoid contact with symptomatic patients and their bodily fluids
•    avoid contact with corpses and/or bodily fluids from deceased patients.
•    avoid close contact with live or dead wild animals
•    avoid consumption of “bushmeat”
•    practise safe sex
•    follow strict hand washing routines 

Anybody concerned that they might have been exposed to, or showing symptoms of Ebola should seek immediate medical advice. If you are in the UK call NHS on 111.