Picking through the aftermath of the volcanic ash chaos
It is unlikely that the recent volcanic ash travel chaos would have escaped you, and you may well have even been one of the thousands of Britons
stranded overseas because of the erupting Icelandic volcano which grounded flights in the UK and across the world.
But now the aftermath begins, with the major issue of claiming compensation now at the fore. For those who had flights cancelled and were stranded
away from home, the issue of payouts for expenses such as alternative travel arrangements and additional accommodation has been mired in
controversy over a lack of clarity about what is and isn't covered by travel insurance. Much talk has in fact been made over claims being invalidated on
the grounds the volcanic eruption is an "Act of God", a clause which essentially means insurers do not need to pay claims because the eruption was
out of human control.
In the past few days though, many insurers have come out and confirmed that they will be honouring claims, however, payments could be minimal and
many people could be left out of pocket for subsistence costs not to mention accommodation costs.
On the bright side, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has spoken out and said it may get involved and rule on disputes over terms and
conditions in travel insurance policies. But, the FOS points out that from past experience, insurance providers have tended to take a reasonable
approach when natural disasters occur - such as the widespread flooding in the UK a few years ago - with insurers taking a broader interpretation of
exclusions as a gesture of goodwill.
The FOS is also keen to state that it is very early days, as policyholders first have to make a claim to their insurer - through its formal complaints
procedure which could take weeks for a decision on the claim to be made. If it is rejected, you have the right to take your complaint to the FOS which
can then enforce a judgment in your favour. So what does this mean for travel insurance going forward and wi