Travel insurer denies claim after couple’s business burns

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NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) — Days before Caroline Flynn and her husband Vinnie were supposed to leave for a cruise to the Bahamas, their auto body shop was destroyed by fire.

“It wasn’t until the next day that I was like ‘Oh my God, the cruise! I have to cancel it,'” Caroline recalled.

The couple had trip insurance, so they assumed they would be refunded for the $4,000 cruise, or at least be able to reschedule it.

“We submitted our claim and they bounced it back and said it is not one of the canned or boilerplate reasons for us to cancel a cruise,” Vinnie told Call 12 for Action. “We  thought that was pretty unfair.”

Call 12 for Action reached out to the insurance company, Allianz, to find out why the claim was denied. Daniel Durazo, a spokesperson said there’s a list of covered incidents in the couple’s policy including layoffs and house fires, but said a fire at a business doesn’t count.

“You’re thinking I’m buying this and if something catastrophic happens, I’m covered,” Vinnie said. “Something did catastrophically happen, and I’m not covered.”

“There definitely needs to be something done,” he added.

Currently, Rhode Island state lawmakers are considering a bill, sponsored by Sen. Roger Picard, that would revamp travel insurance regulations and add some consumer protections.

In an emailed statement, Durazo said Allianz supports the proposal because it “…will provide regulatory standardization and consistency across the industry in an effort to bring additional clarity to both the companies that offer travel insurance and to the consumers who purchase it.”

InsureMyTrip, a Warwick-based travel insurance comparison site, is also in favor of the bill.

In an emailed statement, InsureMyTrip CEO Jim Grace said, “InsureMyTrip adheres to the highest standards of moral and ethical values. We always do what is best for travelers — and we support this proposed legislation. It aims to foster additional transparency and best practices that will, in turn, benefit Rhode Island travelers.”

It’s not clear if the proposed law would have made any difference for the Flynn family’s claim.

Consumers who are considering travel insurance should read the policy carefully, note any exclusions, and contact the insurance company with questions, according to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association.

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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