Mental illness exclusions removed
11 Jul 2017
QBE and Cover-More have removed mental health exclusions from their travel insurance policies, in a major departure from the industry’s standard position on such illness.
It comes more than a year after the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled QBE breached the Equal Opportunity Act when it rejected a student’s claim over a trip to New York that was cancelled due to her depression.
Ella Ingram did not have the condition when she bought her travel insurance policy.
“We have listened to our customers and are making changes that will get us closer to where the community expects us to be,” a QBE spokesman told insuranceNEWS.com.au.
“The change in our travel insurance policies will respond to claims for first diagnoses of mental illnesses, similarly to first diagnoses of any other medical illnesses.”
QBE says the changes took effect on July 1. Retail travel policies provide cover for cancellation and medical expenses due to a first diagnosis of mental illness after a policy has been covered.
Its product disclosure statement has been revised to include “the removal of a general exclusion for any claims arising directly or indirectly because an insured or a member of the travelling party suffers a mental illness”.
Cover-More, which is now part of Zurich, has removed general exclusions for mental illness from all travel insurance products in Australia and New Zealand, effective last month.
“The cover for mental illness that we’ve introduced is a significant first step for Cover-More and Zurich,” Group CEO Mike Emmett told insuranceNEWS.com.au.
“We recognise the critical importance of incorporating specific cover for people with mental health conditions into our policies – it’s something that the travel insurance industry, including us, has neglected for too long.”