Superyacht Insurance Group has issued advice to crew about the importance of crew insurance cover during the coronavirus outbreak, under a medical plan that works ‘while working on-board the yacht, during time off and in between jobs anywhere in the world’.
It advises that if a yacht doesn’t have a group policy in place for crew, it is vital to enrol on to an individual crew medical plan before showing symptoms or getting ill. Most insurers will not cover pre-existing medical conditions, especially under an individual insurance policy.
For those crew who already have an insurance plan in place, Superyacht Insurance Group recommends policyholders should educate themselves on the benefits and coverage, reading the policy and getting familiar with how the policy works in case they have to go to the doctor and file a claim. For questions about coverage and benefits, crew can reach out to their insurance agent or the insurance company directly to find out what that plan covers concerning COVID-19 testing and treatment.
Maria Karlsson, principal insurance broker at Superyacht Insurance Group, said, “At all times, have insurance documents within short reach and keep the ID card handy. Register with member or policyholder services on the insurance companies’ websites. Some insurers offer an app where policy documents and ID card are stored electronically and can be easily accessed from a smartphone or iPad.”
For existing policyholders, COVID-19 treatment is often covered as any other flu or illness under the crew medical insurance policies. The eligible medical expenses that may be considered for coverage include, but are not limited to, charges for testing, doctor visits, urgent care clinics, hospitals, prescriptions and medical evacuation.
Karlsson added, “As of today, COVID-19 has no impact on the coverage for GeoBlue members that are covered under long-term insurance policies. These plans include the Navigator crew medical, the Xplorer Premier, Xplorer Essential and the Blue Cross, Blue Shield Global Expat plans. For new long-term applicants who have noted China or South Korea as Host Country, there is currently a pending status in underwriting review.
“Additionally, the Navigator individual crew medical plan and Blue Cross Blue Shield Global Expat group policy offer free COVID-19 testing to its policyholders. The insurance policy will cover — with no cost to the insured — medically necessary, prescribed diagnostic testing for the virus, consistent with CDC guidelines. The cost for the testing is covered, as are the physician consultation fee and associated costs related to the administration of the test.
“But be aware that most countries have insufficient testing kits, and healthcare professionals and individuals with chronic health conditions are prioritised at this time.”
The IMG Global Crew Medical Insurance plans for groups and individuals, the Crew Select plan and Global Medical Insurance Plans for Expats may provide coverage for COVID-19-related care if crew have purchased and entered the destination country prior to either: 1) the CDC issuing a Warning Level 3 (avoid nonessential travel) for the Destination Country; or 2) a government agency of a Home Country publishing or issuing a Travel Warning or Emergency Travel Advisory regarding the Destination Country.
Eligible medical expenses that may be considered for coverage include, but are not limited to, charges for illness, injury or medical evacuation.
Tele-Medicine is another useful benefit being offered by some insurance companies, where policyholders can receive medical guidance and consultations through virtual appointments and doctor consultations globally. Subject to local regulation, doctors may be able to prescribe medicine and provide referral letters.
For questions about a specific policy, benefits and to verify coverage, insureds should always refer to the certificate of insurance as the definitive source for the terms, conditions and exclusions. Or contact an insurance agent or the insurance company directly. The toll-free or collect-call phone numbers are usually listed on the back of the ID card, or visit the insurance company’s website for more details.