The next time travellers plan a visit to Europe, they will have to ensure that their travel insurance policy is valid. If not, their visa is likely to be cancelled at the last minute.
The General Insurance Council, the official representative body of 27 general insurance companies, have designed a special technology platform through a portal for Schengen countries to check the rampant fraudulent practices involving cancelled travel policies, including health covers.
A Schengen Visa allows a visitor to travel to 26 European countries with one visa. Now any Schengen State can log into the portal and directly check the validity of the travel policy.
The rule says that the visitor needs to have the travel policy throughout the travelling period, which can be used for providing treatment to the visitor. It is mandatory for a traveller to have a policy, providing minimum cover of euro 30,0000.
According to sources, several cases were detected in which a prospective traveller, after getting the policy, later cancelled it to get the refund. The traveller produces the document for the issuance of the visa but pockets the money before flying out. He keeps the printout of the cancelled policy while travelling abroad.
“This kind of frauds were detected in policies which are being issued in groups by the travel agencies. In some cases, some European states even detected sick travellers going abroad with cancelled policies, thus prompting them to plug loopholes,” said an industry source.
After it came to the notice of the General Insurance Council, it offered to create a platform through which European embassies and consulates can verify the authenticity of the insurance documents. The mechanism can now directly verify the policies of 12 general insurers and policies of those who are not part of this platform will not be accepted by the European states.
“There are some problems faced by ICICI Lombard and National Insurance, which have been rectified and these companies’ policies will be accepted now. SBI General Insurance is yet to join the system,’’ an industry source said.
Other countries too, have approached the council for such a platform, which is gearing up to provide them soon.