Insurance coverage for travellers impacted by Orly Airport shooting

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Following an attack at Paris Orly Airport, France, travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth has explained insurance coverage for impacted travellers.

On 18 March, a gunman was shot dead after seizing a soldier’s weapon within the airport. A major security scare and the temporary closure of the airport followed.

According to Squaremouth, while the attack is still under investigation, neither French nor US governments have outright declared it as an act of terrorism as of Saturday. Squaremouth stated that in order for impacted US travellers to claim trip cancellation due to the attack, it must first be declared a ‘terrorist attack’ by the US Department of State.

Squaremouth explained that if the attack is deemed terrorism, those delayed due to suspended or cancelled flights as a result of the attack (for at least 12-24 hours), those unable to reach the Orly Airport due to a road closure (for at least 12-24 hours), and those with trips to Paris within 30-90 days may be eligible for trip cancellation benefits and reimbursement of up to 100 per cent of their trip expenses.

Travellers must be insured prior to the attack for coverage to be applicable, Squaremouth added. It has launched the Paris Orly Airport Shooting and Travel Insurance Information Center to keep travellers informed on coverage relating to the event.

Kate Huet, managing director of Travel and Healthcare limited believes insurers may be waiting a long time for a government to state if an incident is an act of terrorism. “Some governments actually are it seems ‘in denial’ about terrorism, because the bottom line of their countries balance sheet depends heavily on incoming tourism, so they prefer NOT to use this term, instead they use words like Civil Unrest and Sabotage,” she said.

Huet believes insurers should use the information that is available to decide whether an incident is terrorism and be ‘robustly able to support this decision’. “Safe Journey, which is a specific terrorism travel insurance, covers disinclination to travel – for cancellation, curtailment, and a lot more,” she said. “By using all information available at the time, travellers insured by Safe Journey can have a rapid decision as to whether an incident is terrorism and therefore covered, or not. Clearly ‘lone wolf’ or ‘lone actor’ attacks make up a considerable number of the terrorist attacks these days – and it is not the scale of the attack that can be a determining factor as to whether terrorism is the right name being used.”