Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) has written to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, asking members to approve claims related to Covid-19 that might not have been initially covered under the policy.

“Insurance companies should not be in the business of effectively encouraging travel in this emergency situation by refusing to honor travel insurance policies when consumers wish to cancel or change travel plans because their lives, and the lives of others, depend on it,” Markey said in a statement.

For many insurance companies, the coronavirus pandemic is already considered a known event, meaning benefits do not apply to virus-related claims, according to travel insurance comparison engine SquareMouth. Still, some insurers are providing benefits if customers test positive for coronavirus, as they do not consider illness contraction a foreseen event even during a pandemic.

Still other insurers have already moved to do just what Markey is requesting, widening coverage so customers can file coronavirus-related claims.

Markey ruffled feathers in the travel insurance industry in 2018 when he issued a report on insurance, saying policies sold by airlines and OTAs were “aggressively pushed onto customers” and fail “to provide promised coverage.” 

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