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Hotel Association: ‘Tourism leaders assure smooth process on insurance mandate’

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Posted: Monday, January 24, 2022. 2:43 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Belize Hotel Association has held further discussions with Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations Anthony Mahler; his CEO Nicole Solano; and Director of Tourism Evan Tillett on “questions and serious concerns” raised by a supermajority of members on the upcoming insurance mandate for foreign visitors to Belize.

According to the trio, Belize is not able at this time to allow visitors to use their existing insurance as it “would have decreased the projected volumes that allowed the government to negotiate a rate of US$18.” Another local and foreign provider may come on as additional options and negotiations on this front continue.

As for potential bottlenecks at the International Airport caused by the addition of another documentation verification, CEO Solano explained that visitors will validate their documents at the Immigration checkpoint and lines are currently separated to red and green, the latter the fast track for all those with necessary documents will continue to be used after the mandate comes into effect on February 15.

The life of the mandate per the Tourism Board is for as long as the Public Health Regulations concerning COVID-19 require it; as the situation hopefully improves, the matter would be up for revision and potentially become optional.

Descriptions of the claim process for the scenarios activating an insurance claim were also provided. A 24-hour call center will be opened for guidance in regards to documents that will need to be provided, for example, an invoice from the hotel, or a medical form in the case of injury.

If the trip must be canceled due to unforeseen medical emergency, injury, or death of the insured or a close family member, they would be reimbursed for hotel expenses up to a maximum of US$3,000. The hotel will not be held liable for a refund if the cancellation falls outside of the Hotel’s cancellation window.

For emergencies in Belize, a number will be linked to the call center which will, in turn, reach out to a network of doctors, medical facilities, and ambulance services depending on the severity of the illness. A third-party administrator will settle payments with providers to a limit of US$50,000.

As for COVID-19 quarantine, the call center will ask for basic information including the name of the hotel where they are staying; if the facility is not an approved COVID-19 facility they will arrange for the person to be transported to an approved facility; the policyholder will be reimbursed at US$300 per day up to US$2,000 in all.

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