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Businessman who boarded wrong flight loses insurance claim dispute

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A man who was mistakenly sent by a booking agent to Male, in the Maldives, instead of Mahe, in Seychelles, has lost a claim dispute with his insurer.

The man, who was on a business trip, travelled via Dubai in November last year and transferred to a connecting flight. It was not until he was on the plane that he realised the destination was incorrect and he was headed to the Maldives.

After a few days he returned to Dubai but by this time he was unable to continue with his scheduled trip, which he abandoned and returned home.

He incurred almost $14,000 in expenses for accommodation, cancellation fees and phone calls.

The agent admitted it booked the wrong destination and the man lodged an insurance claim under a policy he held with Lloyd’s Australia for multi-trip overseas and domestic travel, saying that as the error occurred through the booking agent it was not his fault.

The claim was denied on the basis that the circumstances of the loss did not fit with any insured event under the policy. The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) upheld this decision.

“The dominant or effective cause of the complainant’s loss was the flight booking error. This is not an event covered under the terms of the policy,” AFCA said. “The insurer’s policy is a listed events policy. It does not cover all types of loss.”

The insured events did not extend to incorrect or mistaken flight bookings, AFCA said, but covered cancellation and additional expenses related to issues such as illness, natural disasters, quarantine issues and serious accidents.

“Whilst I empathise with the complainant’s situation, this is not an event the policy responds to. Therefore, the insurer is not liable for the complainant’s loss,” the AFCA ombudsman said.

See the full ruling here.