Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Updated on August 19, 2020, 5:30pm EDT

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The virus responsible for COVID-19, was first reported from Wuhan, China in December 2019. On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of COVID-19, a “public health emergency of international concern” and, on March 11, 2020, the disease was characterized as a “pandemic.” On March 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of State issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory. On March 27, 2020, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Global Warning Level 3, "avoid nonessential travel," due to the widespread and ongoing transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

As of August 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of State, in coordination with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has removed the Global Level 4 Health Advisory and reverted to a prior protocol of reviewing Travel Warnings on a country specific basis. The removal of the Global level advisory may affect the benefits afforded under IMG’s international medical product offerings.

Under the terms and conditions of IMG’s international medical products (not including iTravelInsured travel protection plans), travelers who purchase coverage on or after August 6, 2020 may be eligible for benefits directly or indirectly related to COVID-19, as long as the DOS or CDC have not issued a Level 3 or higher Travel Warning for your destination country. In addition, if a government agency from your country of residence has not issued a similar travel warning, you may be eligible for coverage for COVID-19 coverage.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please use this page to learn about the outbreak, access great resources for the most current information, and understand how you or your IMG coverage may be impacted by COVID-19.

Information regarding IMG's health risk assessment, as it pertains to the "back to office" plan for our European offices, can be found here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Operational Capability FAQs

How is IMG specifically prepared to handle medical cases related to COVID-19?

IMG remains ready to provide advice, guidance, and practical support in this rapidly evolving situation. By far, most members who contract COVID-19 will have mild disease and not require admission to hospital but may be admitted to isolation facilities for up to 14 days. If members become more severely unwell, they should follow local advice – they may be directed to specific facilities that are better equipped to manage their condition.

IMG’s ability to move patients with COVID-19 varies throughout a pandemic. Both the originating and accepting countries will likely not allow any patient to travel when infectious. Additionally, travel restrictions are being placed on international travel by many countries across the globe. In most cases, members will have mild disease, remain in country, recover within 14 days, and then be able to travel (if necessary). It is possible that they may be subject to an additional period of quarantine on returning to their home country. As we progress further into a pandemic phase, where there is established community spread, restricting travel between countries becomes less helpful and it is possible that there will be a relaxation of restrictions. In reality, a lag in governmental response combined with regional variations will make transfer of COVID-19 patients complicated. The major challenge in these cases is sourcing an accepting bed, either because countries do not want to import cases or because of the lack of intensive care resources. IMG will make every attempt to coordinate transports in these cases and know which of our air ambulance providers can transfer these patients.

Patients with non COVID-19 disease or injury in outbreak areas may be subject to travel/evacuation restrictions. The extent to which this may occur depends upon the government involved. When widespread testing becomes available, it is our hope that port health authorities will allow transfer, but companies that have employees in poorly resourced areas must have contingency plans for staff to remain in country for treatment. In all cases, IMG will assess capabilities and options individually and will proactively maintain surveillance of our network providers, as well as the spread of the virus, to enable us to act quickly to supply our clients with the best course of action based on their unique situation.

How does the recent ban placed by the U.S. government further impact IMG’s ability to perform transports?

IMG adheres to all governmental laws and regulations as they pertain to assisting and transporting members across the globe. If any member travels to a country after the ban was put in place, this may impact our ability to help them return home. Additionally, IMG must adhere to the travel restrictions themselves. This means that, for example, any member currently in Europe who may require a medical repatriation back to the United States should expect to experience delays in their return. As this is an evolving process, we will learn more in the upcoming days and weeks in terms of what, if any, exceptions of a medical nature can be made considering these travel restrictions. Each individual case is unique and will be reviewed and evaluated individually to determine the best course of action and plan.

What is IMG doing to mitigate response interruption?

Considering recent events and the quickly evolving global situation, IMG is not able to provide assurance that there will be no response interruption. In fact, the more likely outcome is that members should expect to experience a delay in movement in some form, and the extent to which this will impact an individual member and their situation will vary from case to case. IMG is taking steps to proactively remain in contact with our medical and transportation providers around the globe to understand their capabilities and limitations, and to provide the most current advice to our members. Our operations and medical teams also remain available 24/7 for any urgent inquiries, questions, or medical emergencies that may arise. IMG will “Be There” for our customers wherever their travels may take them, and will leverage our travel intelligence, provider network, and expertise in patient movements to come up with an action plan in the best interest of the patient.

I am planning a trip next month and am worried about COVID-19. Should I cancel it?

Any individual decisions for cancelling or scheduling travel should be made by the member, weighing the most recent news, restrictions, and advice coming from various governmental and global agencies. Please refer to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of State, and World Health Organization (WHO) for the latest and most up to date information available.

How is IMG prepared to protect their members?

IMG has extensive experience working with governments and medical organizations to assist our members during serious medical situations, including all global health emergencies since 1990. In addition, our robust network of air ambulance providers have experience transferring patients with infectious disease and we are engaged in a continual dialogue with them to understand their worldwide readiness.

General Coronavirus FAQs

What is coronavirus?

The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19. The disease was first reported from Wuhan, China in December 2019. On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of COVID-19, a “public health emergency of international concern.

For all other questions regarding the disease itself, refer to the World Health Organization’s FAQ page.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems such as high blood pressure, heart problems, or diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness. About 2% of people with the disease have died. People with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

How does COVID-19 spread?

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person-to-person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.

How long is the incubation period of COVID-19?

The “incubation period” means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days, most commonly around five days. These estimates will be updated as more data becomes available.

Is there a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19?

To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.

Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19.

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue, and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing.

*This is a summary of a selection of plan benefits offered only as an illustration and does not supersede in any way the Certificate of Insurance and governing policy documents (together the “Insurance Contract”). The Insurance Contract is the only source of the actual benefits provided.

**Insurance benefits contained within the travel protection plans described above are underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company. C&F and Crum & Forster are registered trademarks of United State Fire Insurance Company. The Crum & Forster group of companies is rated A (Excellent) by AM Best Company 2018.

Get Medical Insight and Practical Guidance in our Latest Webinar

In the latest Coronavirus-focused IMG webinar, Dr. Tothill shares his medical perspective on how best to prepare for and mitigate the growing threat of widespread COVID-19, advice for those in affected areas, and simple measures most effective in controlling the spread of this Coronavirus.

Coronavirus Analysis & ReadinessApril 7th, 2020
Coronavirus Analysis & ReadinessMarch 20th, 2020

Updates from IMG's Chief Medical Officer

Dr Geoff Tothill
MB, BS, FRCP Edin. FFTM RCPS Glas. Cert AvMed. Chief Medical Officer

IMG's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Geoff Tothill, shares the the latest updates on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, advice for those in affected areas, and simple measures most effective in controlling the spread.

IMG Coronavirus Bulletin January 25th, 2020

IMG Coronavirus Bulletin February 25th, 2020

IMG Coronavirus Bulletin March 12th, 2020

IMG Coronavirus Bulletin March 20th, 2020

What you can do to protect yourself

Regular Hand Washing

One of the most effective ways of reducing spread is through regular and thorough hand washing and avoidance of hand to mouth contact. Use of alco-gel throughout the day can also significantly reduce the risk.

Catch Your Coughs

Medical expenses vary around the world. To provide the best balance of coverage and cost, plan coverage rates may be different for a traveler visiting the United States than they are for a traveler in a destination where healthcare is less expensive.

Avoid Large Crowds

Being in close proximity to a large number of people, even if they (or you) are wearing a mask, increases the probability that you will contract the virus. Many countries have cancelled large public gatherings in affected areas.

Social Distancing

Substituting face to face meetings with teleconferencing, avoiding shaking hands and distancing from those with flu like symptoms can all help reduce transmission. Staff working in contact centres in endemic areas should avoid sharing headsets or visiting each others work areas.

IMG's COVID-19 Preparedness

While IMG’s Chief Medical Officer and medical team continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and how it may affect our members, clients, and producers, they’re equally as focused on the IMG team’s safety and security. Based on their recommendations and in accordance with our company-wide pandemic response plans, we recently initiated our work from home policy. We believe this was necessary to protect the health and wellbeing of the IMG team, while also allowing us to continue serving you with limited service interruptions.

As a result of these remote working measures, please keep the following in mind:

  1. USPS mail service may be impacted, affecting mail delivery both to and from IMG. We recommend that IMG claims be submitted to IMGcustomercare@imglobal.com and iTravelInsured claims be submitted to iTravelClaims@itravelinsured.com
  2. Fulfillment of IMG physical ID cards and other documents may be impacted. As always, IMG plan documents, including ID cards, can be accessed through our website

Like other travel companies and insurance organizations, we are experiencing a high volume of calls, emails, and inquiries regarding COVID-19. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we diligently work to respond to all inquiries during this trying time. Please review the FAQs above for information regarding COVID-19 and how plan or policy benefits may be affected.