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MH370 Mystery Shoots Up Insurance Purchase Among Fliers to South East Asia

The unsolved mystery of MH370 aircraft with 239 passengers has lead to the panic purchase of Travel Insurance among South East Asia fliers. People are cancelling their travel plans and those who can't avoid travelling are rushing for a cover.

24th March, 2014, KOLKATA: The disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-2000 ER aircraft with 239 passengers has lead to the cancellation of travel plans by several air travellers. Those people who cannot avoid travel are rushing for insurance cover being more concern about mishappenings.

The General Manager of National Insurance Co, S Bhattacharya said that a sharp increase in travel insurance purchase by South East Asia fliers has been witnessed. The mystery of MH370 flight disappearance which was flying to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur has triggered the panic purchase.

People travelling to South East Asia or Gulf rarely take insurance but this trend may change from now. For travellers travelling to America, Canada, Uk and Australia, it is mandatory to have a travel insurance.

Bhattacharya pointed out that Insurance protects the policyholder against mishaps and ailments that can be a huge financial loss when one has to spend in foreign currency. Furthermore, it covers a lot of other unfortunate occurrences like baggage loss, accident or hijack, inordinate flight delay and many more.

Iffco-Tokio and Bajaj Allianz provide hijack distress allowance as a part of the basic plan but it is an ‘add on’ in National Insurance. By paying a single premium of Rs 1,105-1,712, a person can insure oneself against an air accident for $10,000 to $25,000 and he/she can also get $50 per day distress allowance for 4-6 days in case of hijack.

The chairman of Travel Agents' federation, Anil Punjabi said that the fliers are scared. The sense of unease will remain until a rational explanation will come and this mystery will get resolved. The situation is becoming grave day by day.

Many travellers have lost the appetite for travel. Many are waiting for the mystery to get solved before they start travelling again.

South Asia head of VFS Global (a company that processes visa applications to Malaysia and 16 other countries), Vishal Jairath said that they were yet to feel the ripple. He added that it is an unforeseen event and airlines & travel agents would have to face most of the queries.

This mishap may affect travel plans in the summer holiday season. The flights not only to Malaysia but Thailand and Singapore will get hit as they are around the Gulf of Siam and Andaman Sea which are the hottest beach destinations in the region.

Punjabi said that he is equally puzzled by the incident as his clients who are putting a barrage of queries in front of him. He has suggested purchasing insurance to the frequent fliers.