Q. Should we be insisting that any staff or students currently overseas return to the UK? If we do, will the costs be included within the travel cover?
A. This is a decision for the individual institution to make based on the situation in the destination country and your duty of care. Our position on curtailment is that cover is for certain specified causes only and that a viral outbreak would not normally fall within any of these. However, where the FCO has issued advice for visitors to a particular country to leave that country, as they did with China and have now with a few other countries, we will agree on a discretionary basis to cover the additional expenses incurred in returning to the UK. Please note that this only extends to additional expenses and would therefore be predicated on the traveller already having a pre-booked ticket to return. If that ticket cannot be amended for an early return we would then be able to consider the cost of a new ticket. If they do not already have a ticket however wewould not be able to assist as they would have needed to book a ticket at some point anyway and this is not therefore an additional item of expenditure.
We will also consider curtailment claims where a host university has cancelled (not postponed or suspended) teaching on a course and/or closed the student’s accommodation on the same basis.
At this stage we are not including cover for unused pre-booked accommodation etc but we will monitor the situation and may revise that position in the future.