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Storm-Prone Caribbean Destinations Begin Offering Hurricane Insurance

27 Jun, 2018

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

The Caribbean knows when to drop back and punt.

After being slammed by two major hurricanes last season, the area is looking to make travelers comfortable with heading back to the destination during storm season (which runs May 1 to November 30). The solution: a hurricane guarantee.

According to USA TODAY, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism has launched a "Worry Free Hurricane Guarantee," a promise made by its partners on the islands to cover any cancellations made before arrival and compensation if trips are cut short due to bad weather.

The guarantee includes a full refund of accommodation fees at participating hotels, condos and villas island-wide. As soon as a hurricane watch is issued by authorities, travelers who cancel up to 48 hours before check-in will only face a maximum one-night penalty. They will get a free replacement stay throughout the summer.

A list of properties and other vendors with buy-in on the guarantee can be found here.

It’s not just the Caymans that are seeking to win back travelers. The all-inclusive Holiday Inn Resort, Montego Bay in Jamaica also has a hurricane guarantee for all bookings throughout the entire hurricane season this year. If there is a closure of Montego Bay's Sangster International Airport because of a Category One or higher hurricane, guests who have made deposits on bookings can reschedule for a future stay without penalty. They can even get an upgrade if available. If they are already on the trip and a Category One or higher hurricane develops, they will get a certificate for a free future stay within a year.

Club Med will issue guests a future travel certificate in the event of a hurricane. The certificate must be used within a year of the travel date and applies to participating resorts such as Cancun and Turks and Caicos.

Airlines will typically waive change fees if a hurricane warning is issued.

Other islands are simply trying to attract travelers by offering deals or packages at a discount.

"Last year's unusually overactive hurricane season clearly underscores the essential importance of travel insurance and guarantees like ours," Nicola Madden-Greig, group director of marketing and sales at Holiday Inn, said in a written statement. "Our Hurricane Guarantee ensures that travelers choosing Holiday Inn can vacation in Jamaica throughout the summer and well into the fall with confidence."

While such guarantees cover individuals and families who travel to destinations, perhaps to combine vacations with their sports events, event owners should be aware that they will need to carry cancellation-specific insurance. These policies, written specifically for event owners, cover losses from cancellations caused by everything from power failures to natural disasters to adverse weather events to labor disputes and more. Insurance professionals urge event owners to have such insurance in place, regardless of whether they are at a venue in a hurricane-prone area.

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