Insurance companies won't cover bird flu claims
Insurance companies are writing bird flu clauses into their travel
insurance policies to protect themselves from massive payouts if a pandemic
hits, according to news reports in Australia.
The clauses mean that people insured under such policies will not be covered
if they contract avian
influenza while travelling. They are similar to those written into policies
after the 2001 September 11 attacks protecting insurance companies against
payouts in the event of a terrorist act.
A travel insurance policy
issued by Vero Insurance Ltd states the company will not pay for: "Claims
. . . arising from avian influenza (including the H5N1 strain) or any
derivative or mutation of such viruses, or the threat or perceived threat of any
of the above."
Most business insurance policies include force majeure
(natural disaster) clauses, which mean that insurance companies will not
generally cover a company's financial losses associated with a
An Insurance Council of Australia spokesman warned
businesses who wanted to try to protect themselves in the event of a pandemic to
carefully read the product disclosure statement of their insurance policies
Fears about the possibility of a pandemic have been
gathering momentum since confirmation of the first human-to-human transmission
of the H5N1 strain of the virus in Indonesia late last month. But experts
maintain that there is no evidence the virus is moving easily from human to
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