When travel insurance claims get hazy

Insurance companies using semantics on the haze issue, by claiming that it is "man-made", to wriggle out of paying out claims is not the most perplexing of situations yet ("Travel plans hit by haze? Some insurers won't accept claims"; Jan 4 and "Enough reasons for haze to be covered by insurance" by Mr Chan Teck Chye; Jan 5).

I was on holiday with my family in Sydney on Dec 15, 2014 when the cafe siege broke out, resulting in two itinerary items on that day being cancelled - a ticketed tourist attraction and a restaurant dinner, both within the city.

Businesses and tourist spots were ordered shut in the light of the incident unfolding.

Consequently, the travel agency left the group in a mall outside the city to kill time, and we were asked to settle our own dinner at our own cost.

In spite of a "terrorism bonus coverage" in the travel policy I purchased with clauses explicitly stating coverage for losses directly or indirectly caused by such incidents, I had to haggle with the insurance company for weeks to secure a fair claim.

It was finally in May last year, after requesting the company's chief executive's attention on the case, that I got the barest of compensation and a letter, still insisting that the loss in value for my family of four was not covered by the policy and that claims were awarded only out of goodwill.

While there may be few precedents on such cases, the insurer not only dragged its feet, it also showed no empathy and made no effort in going the extra mile, as if it feared a flood of similar claims over the incident - but isn't that a risk all insurers are supposed to take?

Ooi Mun Kong