Monday, July 02, 2007

Insurance Mandatory for Travellers

It is now mandatory for all licensed travel and tour agencies to offer travel insurance for local and outbound travel to raise confidence in the travel industry and to protect all travellers.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor who announced this said it was necessary to ensure travellers were protected against unforeseen circumstances.

"However, travellers will have the right to refuse such protection," he said, after launching Tahan Insurance Malaysia Bhd's Basic Travel Protection Plan on Monday.

As for how this would be implemented, Tengku Adnan said it was the ministry which provided the licenses for tour and travel agents to operate.

"We will tell them that they have to offer such insurance when existing agents come to renew licenses or when new companies apply for licenses.

"They must offer it, and it is left to the customer to purchase or not. But they must explain that it is available."

Tengku Adnan said the Basic Travel Protection Plan, which had been endorsed by the ministry, provides tour fare protection of up to RM10,000 - apart from basic medical, repatriation, accidental death, permanent disablement and personal liability coverage.

Tour fare protection means the traveller is covered against cancellations and the travel or tour agency closing as a result of financial collapse or default.

The premium is RM15 per person (local and outbound) and the plan also covers inbound travellers at US$15 per person.

So far, 24 travel agencies have signed up to offer the insurance.

The plan would be managed by Pempena Sdn Bhd (100% owned by the Tourism Ministry) and Timeless Vacation Sdn Bhd.

It is underwritten by seven insurance companies including Tahan Insurance.

Tengku Adnan added that as society became more affluent, it was only natural that people took vacations frequently.

"However, there are still many Malaysians out there who are unaware of the importance of travel insurance or simply assume that their existing policy is sufficient," he said.

Tengku Adnan also urged consumers to exercise discretion when buying tour packages as they were companies out there who were out to cheat.

"If the difference in price of a similar package is in the thousands, then there is obviously something wrong," he said, adding that the ministry was compiling a list of unscrupulous companies.

Source : STAR
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