Edgar and his friend, Tim, were travelling with a group of 35 young people to Dubai for a football match.
Edgar purchased a group insurance policy to cover the entire group for the trip.
Edgar said that the group arrived at Dubai airport approximately two hours before their flight. Unfortunately, two members of the group did not make it through customs before the flight gate closed due to delays with the luggage scanner. Edgar and Tim elected to remain with two young people and they missed their flights.
Edgar and Tim drove to Abu Dhabi and booked new flights. Edgar submitted a claim for his meals, flights and travel expenses. The travel insurer declined to pay Edgar’s claim because his policy did not cover losses arising from being held up at customs.
Edgar argued that the insurer acted unfairly by declining his claim for flights and expenses due to a delay at the Dubai airport. Edgar had to miss his flight to support two young people who were held up at customs and were travelling with his group.
Edgar said that it was unreasonable for the insurer to expect him to board his fight and leave the young people to fend for themselves at the airport.
Edgar wanted to be fairly reimbursed for the expenses incurred in returning to New Zealand and complained to FSCL.
We decided that the delays Edgar experienced were not out of the ordinary for a large group travelling with young people through a busy airport. Arriving two hours prior to departure does not allow sufficient time for the delays a large group is likely to experience. In the circumstances, we decided that it would not be reasonable for the insurer to bear the costs of Edgar’s missed flight.
Following our preliminary view, Edgar withdrew his complaint.
Insights for consumers
An insurance policy is the basis of your contract with your insurer. Any claim is subject to the terms of your policy. Insurance policies will not cover every situation, but rather only those risks that the insurer is willing to accept. It is normal for cover to differ between policies and the quality of cover is generally reflected in the premium that you pay.
In this instance, the group policy offered excellent protection for lost luggage, but only provided cover for losses arising from specific delays. It is therefore important to clearly read the terms of your policy wording to understand what protections you have purchased cover for.