When Professor Paul Moorcraft, Director of the Centre for Foreign Policy Analysis, London, agreed to lead a team of 50 election observers in Sudan, he may have imagined all kinds of potential risks, but volcanic ash probably wasn’t one of them.
Because of the potentially volatile situation in Sudan, we organised a specialist international Group Travel insurance policy from IHI to cover his trip. Some long-term observers were there for two months, but most were scheduled for ten days. Thankfully, the first Western-observed multi-party elections for 24 years in Sudan, went off relatively peacefully. It was only when Paul tried to come home that things began to get complicated.
Coral Parfitt, international insurance consultant at Bellwood Prestbury, explains that she went into action as soon as she got a call from Paul saying he couldn’t get back. “The Icelandic volcano had just started spreading ash plumes, disrupting flights across Europe. Paul was stuck in Sudan, without any idea when he might get home. We confirmed that his policy would cover him while he was away, and we quickly extended the length of his cover indefinitely.”
The chaos that followed in European airspace meant the Paul and most of his team were stranded in Sudan for nearly two weeks. Helping to support a team of international observers, academics and lawyers, his total out-of-pocket expenses far exceeded US$20,000.
Paul said: “Without this special policy I don’t know what I would have done. As soon as I got home, Bellwood Prestbury helped me to make a claim and it was settled reasonably quickly. I was thankful to Coral for her support throughout.”
Coral says: “It’s all part of the service. We choose policies carefully, so that our clients are pretty much covered for almost any eventuality. If things happen, we make sure they’re properly looked after and their claims are dealt with promptly.”