The impact of Swine Flu on the travel industry has come as a surprise, and if anything; highlights the huge demand that still exists for travel, even to Mexico despite official warnings from various stern-sounding organisations.
The manner in which the travelling public made their decisions regarding this purportedly 'survival critical' emergency, was refreshingly mature. In the face of media hype conveying that the world was about to end, again, holiday makers, passengers and business travellers evaluated the unfolding facts and realised that although there were some genuine cases of swine flu, the statistics were very very small. Similar to 'normal' flu, even.
As reported elsewhere, a precautionary response was one popular choice to protect holidays, flights and travel arrangements already purchased.
At times of uncertainty, it's natural to turn to those who can put a price on risk and quantify it; the travel insurance companies. It can be reassuring to be insured against the unknown, when a threat such as swine flu breaks out.
Certainly, swine flu generated good business for travel insurance companies:
“The number of travel insurance policies sold by the company has increased by 49% as people are concerned that Swine Flu could take a serious hold in countries other than Mexico and prevent them from going on holiday.”
However, not all travel insurance companies responded appropriately to the fast-changing circumstances, resulting in some confused policy holders and obtuse insurer decisions:
“Some holidaymakers are being refused pay outs from travel insurance firms after cancelling trips to Mexico in light of the swine fly outbreak.”
This was the case in early May, as the situation unfolded. One expectation would be that as travel insurance policy makers learn from these initial knee-jerk events, future claims will be processed more smoothly, including better clarity on the swine flu issue.
Technorati tags; swine flu, travel insurance.