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Worldwide: new strain of coronavirus, COVID-19

Published 1 April 2020

This COVID-19 travel advisory has been reviewed and altered since the New Zealand Government’s announcement on 19 March 2020.

Cigna declared that the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus became a known event in mainland China by 7am on 19 January 2020 (NZDT) and by 12am on 27 February 2020 (NZDT) for the rest of the world (including Hong Kong).

In December 2019, COVID-19 was identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The virus then spread to many countries across the world, causing travel restrictions and unprecedented disruption.

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that COVID-19 had become a pandemic. On 19 March 2020, the New Zealand Government advised all New Zealanders ‘Do Not Travel’ overseas and that New Zealanders already overseas should return to New Zealand while still possible.

Because your policy does not provide any cover in the event of a government directive of this type, we stopped providing cover for COVID-19 on 19 March, 2020.

We recommend you carefully read your policy wording alongside the information below to understand more about your travel cover.

Important policy terms and conditions

When we assess claims, we take into account both your individual circumstances and your policy terms and conditions.

Your policy is designed to cover you for a range of unexpected situations, but it does have some exclusions. If these exclusions are relevant to your situation, you may not have cover under the terms and conditions of your policy.

  • If you purchased your policy after COVID-19 became a known event, you won’t have cover for any claims related to COVID-19.
  • Your policy doesn’t cover you for any issues relating to government directives (including but not limited to governments closing borders and imposing quarantines and isolation conditions)
  • Your policy doesn’t cover you for travel disruption relating to pandemics
  • If you travel against the New Zealand Government’s ‘Do Not Travel’ advice, you won’t have any cover under your policy.

If you’re already travelling

From 19 March 2020, we’re no longer covering travellers for claims relating to COVID-19, regardless of when their policy was issued. This is because your policy doesn’t provide cover for any issues relating to government directives, nor travel against the New Zealand Government’s advice.

If you’re trying to return to New Zealand, please discuss alternative arrangements with your travel provider(s). If you believe you have a valid claim under your policy terms and conditions, please contact us as there may be some exceptional circumstances where a claim is possible.

If you haven’t yet departed and want to cancel your trip

If you want to cancel or postpone your trip, please contact your travel provider(s) in the first instance as many are offering refunds or deferring travel to future dates.

If you’re due to depart within the next three months:

  • and you believe you have a valid claim under the terms and conditions of your policy, please contact us as there may be some exceptional circumstances where a claim is possible.

If your planned departure date is more than three months away:

  • due to the uncertainty around COVID-19, please wait until closer to your departure date to contact us if you believe you may have a valid claim under the terms and conditions of your policy.

If you haven’t yet departed and want to cancel your travel insurance policy

If you’ve decided to cancel or postpone your trip and want to cancel your policy, we will provide a premium refund provided you haven’t yet departed or made a claim.

If you’re due to depart within the next 30 days:

  • please contact us to arrange your refund.

If your planned departure date is more than 30 days away:

  • please wait until closer to your departure date to arrange your refund. We encourage you to contact your travel provider(s) as soon as possible.

Keep up-to-date

The situation is evolving so we remind travellers to monitor the SafeTravel website for advice about COVID-19. If you’re overseas and you need emergency assistance call First Assistance on +64 9 347 1115.