Why it's no go for holidaymakers with no snow

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The Independent Online
POOR snowfalls in European resorts are blighting ski holidays again this year, but people hoping for compensation from insurance policies are likely to be disappointed, writes Maria Scott.

Policies that still include the cover may only pay out in the most extreme conditions.

Some insurers this season have withdrawn the no-snow cover they introduced to their policies three or four years ago after a succession of seasons with poor falls. These include Home & Overseas and General Accident. Both say they have no plans to reintroduce it.

Martin Mills, business manager at Home & Overseas, which underwrites a policy called Ski Safeguard sold through travel agents, said the no-snow cover had been withdrawn to help keep premiums down. Even so, premiums on the policy had increased by around 20 per cent this year.

Mr Mills said the no-snow cover - which had paid a benefit of up to pounds 200 to cover extra costs incurred if policyholders had to travel to other resorts to find snow - had brought heavy claims when it was first offered.

No-snow cover is still included in the policy recommended by the Ski Club of Great Britain. This policy is arranged by the insurance intermediary Douglas Cox Tyrie. It will pay up to pounds 500 if a holiday has to be cancelled because ski lifts in the resort and the connecting ski system are closed for three days before departure between the end of December and the end of March.

The holiday must have been booked at least four weeks before departure and the resort village must be at least 1,200 metres above sea level.

Alan Lumsden, director of Douglas Cox, admitted that the cover was 'tightly drawn' and there had been few claims on it. 'It is for the person whose trip is completely ruined, not the person whose enjoyment has been reduced,' he said.

He said that most tour operators took responsibility for trying to move holidaymakers to areas where snow conditions were reasonable.

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