General Insurance Article - Roles of insurers and airlines in Gatwick drone disruption

Mark Shepherd, Head of General Insurance Policy at the Association of British Insurers comments on the roles of insurers and airlines in the Gatwick drone disruption

 Where customers have bought travel insurance which includes cover for disruption they will be able to claim in the usual way. This cover typically refunds the cost of things like missed accommodation or car hire overseas. The first point of contact for anyone caught up in the Gatwick incident should be the airlines, who have a duty of care to look after their customers and help them make alternative arrangements regardless of the exceptional circumstances.”

 The role of the airlines
 While the CAA have said, due to this being outside of their control, airlines are not obligated to pay compensation for delay under the European Regulations, they do still have a duty of care to their customers. This means they are expected to either provide refunds for cancelled flights or put people on alternative flights to their destination. They are also required to provide food and water for those affected by delays.
 The role of travel insurance
 Where people have bought travel disruption cover as part of their insurance they are covered (up to the limits stated in the policy) for travel disruption.
 This is generally included within most travel insurance policies, including those bought through package bank accounts, however travel insurance policies come with different levels of coverage. Some will not include travel disruption but it is generally available as an add-on.
 Disruption cover typically refunds the cost of other losses caused by travel delays, such as car hire, accommodation, other travel tickets that customers have not been able to use. It may also cover reasonable additional costs caused by delays, such as emergency accommodation, once what’s on offer from the transport provider has been exhausted.
 Generally there is a provision that the purchaser must show that they have not been able to get compensation from their airline, travel provider or accommodation provider before making an insurance claim. This is to stop people being compensated twice and to prevent airlines absolving themselves of their responsibilities under the law.

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