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Only Five Insurers to Cover Schengen Travellers

Posted on May 31, 2011
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As of June 1, 2011, only five insurance companies in Ethiopia will be accredited to issue travel health insurance to Schengen visa holders.

All Schengen system member states are required to extend the validity of a visa with a grace period of 15 days in addition to the period which was applied to afford visa holders some flexibility, according to the new Schengen Visa Code, which came into effect in April 2010.

The Schengen Visa includes 15 European member countries. These are Austria, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxemburg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and The Netherlands.

The insurance policy issued in Ethiopia is fixed for a certain period, which does not match the new visa code, the members said in a letter sent to insurers.

The insurance policy is not flexible and risks leaving visa holders without medical insurance if they are to remain in the Schengen states for longer than the visa date for different reasons, according to Regina Werner, head of the legal and consular section at the German Embassy.

All insurance companies were invited by the German Embassy in Ethiopia on behalf of Schengen members to a discussion at the embassy on April 13, about the possibility of incorporating the grace period into medical insurance.

However, out of the 12 insurance companies, only a few attended the meeting, including NIB Insurance Co, Nyala Insurance Co, and Ethiopian Insurance Corp.

Some of the insurers claimed they did not receive any notification from the embassy.

“We did not receive any invitation from any embassy,” a senior official in the Visa department of Awash Insurance Co, told Fortune.

Only Africa Insurance Co, Nile Insurance Co, Nyala Insurance Co, United Insurance Co, and Ethiopian Insurance Corp gave written replies that they were ready to issue the policies.

These companies agreed to add the additional time to their health insurance policies, in line with the Visa Code, on May 10, 2011.

NIB Insurance claimed it did as well.

“Our company sent a representative to the meeting and responded both orally and by email on May 10,2011 as ordered by the embassy, a branch manager of NIB Insurance told Fortune. “We do not know how this happened.

Mahlet Mesfin

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