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Column: Sorry we had to cancel your trip. But we save your travel insurance money

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Column: Sorry we had to cancel your trip. But we save your travel insurance money

Most travel insurance has many exceptions – including for epidemics – so I don’t usually advise people to care about coverage unless they spend a lot of money on travel, like for a cruise.

But what if you cancel your cruise, or the trip is canceled by the shipping lane, because of coronavirus? Should you be able to return the cost of your travel insurance?

However, it protects you no longer need because of circumstances beyond your control. You haven’t gone anywhere. You have not submitted any claims.

What reasons can an insurance company have for saving your money?

That is what David and Barbara Negrete asked after asking AIG, the insurance giant, to return more than $ 2,300 which they said they had spent on the protection of AIG Travel Guards.

The Huntington Beach couple bought a policy after reaching into a $ 1,500 deposit for a $ 12,000 jazz themed cruise scheduled to sail a year from now. They decided not to travel.

“We are both 67 years old,” David Negrete told me. “We will not take the voyage because of coronavirus.”

He first contacted the shipping operator, a company called Flying Dutchman, and asked for their bail to be returned.

“They said no,” Negrete recalled. “They save a deposit.”

Not surprising there. I have written about the difficulties experienced by cruise ship passengers to get refunds for cancellations. In many cases, cruise ship operators have offered credit for future trips but there is no refund.

Then Negrete contacted AIG with the same request.

“They also will not return money,” he said. “Instead, they offered us vouchers for travel insurance that can be used between now and 2022.”

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The problem is, Negrete and his wife had no plans to travel during that time. “It doesn’t seem safe,” he said. “And we don’t get younger.”

My usual response to situations like this is agreement. If you buy a service, and then you decide not to want that service, well, too bad.

But this is different. Consumers don’t act on a whim when it comes to coronavirus.

They protect themselves from a potentially deadly global pandemic that is getting worse from day to day and where they have no control.

That’s why I brought cruise ship operators, airlines, hotels and others on duty because I stubbornly refused to return money to people.

That’s why I make a smell when most vehicle insurance says they won’t give discounts to policyholders even though many people have stopped driving. California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara then ordered that the discounted price be given.

I understand the company’s reasons from a business point of view – who wants to return cash that has been ordered as revenue, especially when profits are falling off a cliff because of coronavirus?

But come on What’s good for business, and then what’s good.

And if standing-up is very difficult, consider the long-term consequences of short-term greed.

Every cruise passenger and airline that I spoke to had told me the behavior of the company during the pandemic would really affect their decision making when it comes to future travel plans.

In some cases, the problem appears to be miscommunication. Pasadena resident, Howard Abrams, contacted me with the same problem that Negrete was experiencing.

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Abrams, 73, said insurance company Allianz refused to return the travel coverage he bought for the canceled July cruise he wanted to take with his son.

But when I contacted Allianz, I was told that a refund was actually provided “for a while” because of coronavirus.

Abrams tried again and, see, was told that the money would be returned. He was told that the refund process could take around a month because of a deposit guarantee.

Daniel Durazo, a spokesman for Allianz, said the company had decided to close travel cancellations for people who became ill with COVID-19, although there were exceptions to the epidemic.

“We also offer refunds to customers whose trips have been canceled by their travel suppliers because of COVID-19,” he said.

Good for them. This shows awareness about how the current pandemic is destroying many people. This is also an important way to show customers that the company cares.

AIG, for comparison, is just bullshit.

The obstinacy is even more painful when you assume that the company will collapse if not as much as $ 182 billion in cash bailouts from taxpayers during the Great Recession.

AIG, based in New York report net income $ 1.7 billion in the first quarter, up nearly 90% from the previous year.

“If you are considering canceling your trip because of COVID-19, please read your insurance policy thoroughly,” AIG to customers in March. “In general, fear of travel is not a closed event under most of our policies.”

It says refunds are only possible if requested within 15 days of the purchase of travel coverage. If it’s outside that narrow window, and you’re afraid of the tens of thousands of Americans who have been killed so far by COVID-19, the homeless, but not.

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I said above that most travel insurance comes with so many exceptions, travelers might want to think twice before spending a lot of money on protection.

Negrete’s Travel Guard policy, for example, excludes claims involving pre-existing medical and pregnancy conditions. This excludes claims related to risky holiday pleasures such as bungee jumping, as well as claims for natural disasters, pollution, and, once again, epidemics as we experience them today.

An AIG spokesperson told me that the company would be willing to discuss this issue, but only off the record, which meant I couldn’t share what they said with you. I refuse.

The spokesman then sent me a written statement from the company.

“Amid the unprecedented challenges caused by COVID-19, Travel Guard has mobilized significant additional resources to meet the demands of an extraordinary volume of claims, including those involving requests for refunds of premiums and recovery of travel cancellation fees,” the statement the word.

“Travel Guard will continue to look closely at the specific facts and circumstances of each individual claim, as well as the relevant policy language, in respect of the commitments made to its customers.”

As far as I know, the company did not make anything commitment to customers about refunds, but that’s what was said.

What I do know is that if I have ever been in the market for travel insurance, I know which company I trust.

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5-star hotels lead the way in the restoration of Portuguese tourist sites

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5-star hotels lead the way in the restoration of Portuguese tourist sites

In October, the number of overnight stays in 5-star hotels increased by 15.9% compared to the same month in 2019, which, according to additional information, namely from the DMC (Tourist Inception Agency), is associated with a strong increase in tourism from the United States. states.

Information published today by INE indicates that in October, compared to the same month before the pandemic, the number of overnight stays in tourist establishments in Portugal increased by 6.2%, with the strongest increase in hotels, at 8.2%. in which, therefore, 62.1% is concentrated. overnight stays.

The information shows that 4-star hotels, where the largest number of beds are concentrated, had 48.9% of overnight stays in October, totaling 2.05 million, which is +7.6% or more than 144.7 thousand than in October 2019.

This was followed by 3-star hotels with 927.3k, but this increase was about half of 5-star hotels, by 7.6% or 65.5k, to 927.3k, and then 5-star hotels with 857. 4 thousand overnight stays, an increase of 15.9%. or 117.6 thousand compared to the same pre-pandemic month.

In contrast to the evolution in these categories, there were 2- and 1-star hotels, in which the number of overnight stays decreased by 2.7%, or ten thousand, to 360.8 thousand.

The cheapest apart-hotels (three and two stars) also saw a decrease in overnight stays, from -20.9% or less than 24.4 thousand, in hotels and farms in Madeira, from -0.4% or less, to about 300, and in tourist settlements, from -7.7. % or less than 17.5 thousand.

At the same time, the number of apart-hotels increased by 1.2%, or 8.5 thousand, to 717.5 million, due to the increase in 5-star hotels by 6.7%, or 6.6 thousand, to 104.9 thousand, and 4-star, by 5.4 thousand% or 26.4 thousand to 519.9 thousand.

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Overnight stays in tourist apartments also increased by 3.2%, or 13.6 thousand, to 437.8 million, local accommodation, by 0.6%, or 5.5 thousand, to 901.2 thousand, and , primarily tourism in rural areas and housing, with an increase of 45.2% or 67.3 thousand to 216.5 thousand people.

The INE data also shows that Portuguese tourist sites were the best in October in terms of overnight stays this year, with peaks achieved by 5-, 4- and 3-star hotels, 5- and 4-star apartment hotels, accommodation . and rural tourism and housing development.

See also:

The US market is already setting new annual records in Portuguese hotels

The Portuguese hospitality industry experienced the best October in terms of number of guests and overnight stays.

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Government approves strategy to combat “Portuguese underrepresentation” in Brussels

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Government approves strategy to combat "Portuguese underrepresentation" in Brussels

This afternoon the Council of Ministers will approve a national strategy to combat what it considers “underrepresentation de Portugal” in European institutions, in particular the European Commission.

“There is a significant shortage of Portuguese, especially those working for the Commission,” explains the Secretary of State for European Affairs in statements to Renaissance🇧🇷 The problem, according to Thiago Antunes, is not limited to middle management: “This is the first time Portugal does not have a CEO in the European Commission”.

The government wants to “correct this imbalance and fight this deficit in order to win.”ability to influence in decisions.” But it is not possible to increase the number of vacancies for the Portuguese, if only because there are no national quotas for employees working in institutions.

To go to Brussels or even work in Portugal on a full-time basis, you need to pass a series of tests prepared by EPSO (European Personnel Selection Office). 🇧🇷These are very difficult competitions.with very concrete evidence,” the official explains.

The strategy will be based on several pillars: training, increasing grants and encouraging the mobility of civil servants. The Portuguese government is going to create a national training center to “better prepare our candidates for competitions”; to bet on “dissemination of opportunities; increase the balls (by quantity and value); and create a statute that allows those who work in the public administration of Portugal to move into the European public administration.

The aim is to achieve “greater representation” in the European Commission in order to have “greater influence” on the decision. Although the strategy is to strengthen the Portuguese presence in Brussels and the employees do not work for Portugal.it doesn’t matter that they are portuguese“, he defends.

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Fruits may not appear early or may not even be measurable. “It will take some time until we see results,” admits the former secretary of state to the prime minister. But the wait does not stop the Portuguese government. “We have to start right now,” Thiago Antunes insists, pointing to the demographic problem among those working in Brussels. “There are a lot of Portuguese who came in at the time of our accession and are now retiring.”

The strategy aims to reverse the cycle of loss of Portuguese representation among the 27. The diploma will be approved this Wednesday in the Council of Ministers.

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“His manager is Portuguese and…”; The agent changes plans, and Luis Castro “arranges” the problem in the protection of “Botafogo”

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"His manager is Portuguese and...";  The agent changes plans, and Luis Castro "arranges" the problem in the protection of "Botafogo"

Botafogo

The defender must return from loan ahead of schedule, and the Glorioso coach will have to make a decision at the beginning of the preseason.

Photo: Jorge Rodriguez/AGIF.  First, Luis Castro does not have Diego Loureiro for 2023.
Photo: Jorge Rodriguez/AGIF. First, Luis Castro does not have Diego Loureiro for 2023.

With the end of the season Botafogo its reformulation is already underway with the participation of Luis Castro. Names like Carlinhos, for example, have already left General Severiano, but there is a tendency for the “purge” to continue a little longer. Especially with the return of borrowed athletes during the year.

goalkeeper case Diego Loureiro, who played on loan at Atlético GO, promoted to Serie B. Curiously, the Botafogo archer has a contract at Goiania until the end of 2023, but Dragao president Adson Batista is pessimistic about the player’s consistency.

“Diego Loureiro is a bit off because he still has a contract with Botafogo, his manager is Portuguese and he has a different vision.” said the director in an interview with radio Sagres from the capital of Goiás.

The goalkeeper played only two games for Atlético-GO, who were betting on Renan in the starting lineup. If he returns to Rio, Loureiro will likely see high competition in the black and white net as Luis Castro now has alternatives to Gatito Fernandes and Lucas Perry.

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