Ebola Outbreak in Central Africa - What You Need To Know

Jun 12, 2018

Travel Advisory and Health Risks

Traveling to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), particularly the Equateur Province, is considered a high risk due to the outbreak of the Ebola infection. The current mortality rate for the current episode of Ebola is 50%. The threat level is high, and the current strain may be upgraded from an outbreak to an epidemic. These locations have contained Ebola outbreaks before, but it is advised to take extreme caution when travelling to this location.

IMG’s Policy

IMG’s insurance products are underwritten to provide worldwide coverage for unforeseen and unexpected illness and injury. Given the outbreak of Ebola infection in the DRC and the unavailability of adequate local treatment, coverage for Ebola after traveling to the DRC is not available under current IMG products and will be considered as assumption of such risk by the insured person.

Please be aware that your insurance excludes coverage for (i) any Illness or Injury resulting from or sustained after entering the Host Country and as a result of epidemics, pandemics, like Ebola, and about which the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, or similar governmental agency of the Insured Person’s Country of Residence had published, communicated or issued a restriction or official declaration informing the public about such health issues before the Insured Person traveled to the Host Country; (ii) any illness or injury sustained while participating in any activity where such activity is undertaken in disregard of or against the recommendations, treatment programs, or medical advice of a physician or other healthcare provider; and (iii) any willfully self-inflicted injury or illness (“self-inflicted” is defined as action or inaction by the Insured Person that the Insured Person consciously understands will or may cause or contribute, directly or indirectly, to his or her personal Injury or Illness. Self-inflicted specifically includes failure of an Insured Person to follow his or her doctor’s orders, complete prescriptions as directed, or follow any health care protocol or procedures designed to return or maintain his or her health.)

For IMG insureds who were in the DRC prior to any such travel warnings or restrictions, in the event of an injury or illness that meets the requirements for an Emergency Evacuation, IMG will attempt to arrange Emergency Evacuation to the closest medical facility capable of rendering appropriate care and that is willing to accept the patient. As detailed below, however, there is no guarantee that such an Emergency Evacuation will be timely or even available.

If an Emergency Evacuation is requested from a country currently affected by Ebola, evacuation would be limited to countries currently accepting patients from the DRC and/or with Ebola Emergency Evacuation may be limited depending upon the accepting country’s policy regarding international transfer from the DRC. Currently, 20 countries have instigated screening processes which may affect the speed or ability to evacuate into these countries.

Any evacuation of Ebola infected US citizens must be coordinated with the US State Department or the government of the patient’s citizenship (if the patient is a non-US citizen).

Evacuation vendors contacted by IMG have stated that, as of today, they may be able to evacuate a patient from the DRC, under certain circumstances, and determined on a case by case basis.  Air ambulance evacuation from the DRC due to Ebola is highly complex and may take days to occur, especially if flight assets are not locally available or the complexity of the patient’s condition delays or prevents evacuation.

Emergency Evacuation of patients infected with Ebola will not occur unless all required quarantine and infection control procedures and restrictions are in place, which may cause further delay or prevent evacuation. At present, international evacuation for patients with active clinical symptoms of Ebola is extremely limited and may not be achievable if patients have uncontrolled body fluids, such as vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding or other similar conditions.

IMG will work diligently to facilitate and expedite arrangements for such an evacuation, but many factors outside of the company’s control may delay or prevent evacuation. The company will not be liable or responsible for any delays, losses, damages, further injuries or illnesses, or any other claims that arise from or are caused in whole or in part by any acts, omissions, events or circumstances that are not within the direct and immediate supervision and control of IMG or the insurance company, including without limitation the events and circumstances set forth above.