Ombudsman urges travel insurance check amid New Caledonia unrest

Recent disruptions include flight cancellations

Ombudsman urges travel insurance check amid New Caledonia unrest


By Roxanne Libatique

New Zealanders planning to visit or currently in New Caledonia are advised by Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman Karen Stevens to urgently reach out to their travel insurance providers in light of current civil unrest in the region.

Stevens noted that several travel insurance plans do not cover civil unrest or riots, which could pose problems for travellers.

Impact of civil unrest in New Caledonia

Recent disruptions include the cancellation of flights to and from Nouméa-La Tontouta International Airport on Tuesday, with closures expected to last until midnight on May 16. Additionally, public transportation and taxis in Nouméa are currently non-operational.

The Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme, which recently welcomed the impending changes to New Zealand’s insurance legislation, anticipates an influx of inquiries from travellers affected by the unrest.

Travel insurance advice for New Zealanders amid New Caledonia civil unrest

Stevens urges those in New Caledonia to contact their insurers and airlines to discuss their options immediately. For those with upcoming trips, it is crucial to speak with insurance providers before departure to determine the specifics of their coverage.

“For those currently in New Caledonia, check with your insurer and airline about the options available to you as soon as you can. For those who have an upcoming trip to New Caledonia, talk to your insurer about what they will cover now, before you leave,” she said.

She also stressed the importance of purchasing travel insurance at the time of booking flights and accommodations.

“If you have booked a trip to New Caledonia, but haven’t bought travel insurance yet, it’s unlikely that the insurance you buy now will cover you for any cancellations that arise from the unrest in future,” she said.

Travellers are asked to keep abreast of updates by visiting the New Zealand government’s SafeTravel website.

Dengue fever alert for New Zealand travellers to Samoa

The New Caledonia civil unrest alert comes after the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) issued a health warning for New Zealanders traveling to or living in Samoa due to a rising number of dengue fever cases.

The outbreak was declared by the Samoan Ministry of Health following the identification of 80 new cases in the first half of April, bringing the total to 250 cases since November of the previous year.

Most cases were recorded at Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital in Moto’otua, with a surge in cases noted in February and early March.

In response to the outbreak, MFAT updated its Safe Travel website on April 22, recommending that travellers secure comprehensive travel and medical insurance that includes air medical evacuation.

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