Southern Cross Travel Insurance, which sold nearly 300,000 policies last year, has axed its $100 claims excess calling it a trivial amount.
Craig Morrison, the insurers' chief executive, said the amount of money was so small that it was being dispensed with.
When you consider that medical costs can easily run into the hundreds of thousands, $100 is a trivial amount. We simply believe that removing the excess, and therefore any additional stress, is the right thing to do.
"From our point of view, when you consider that medical costs can easily run into the hundreds of thousands, $100 is a trivial amount. We simply believe that removing the excess, and therefore any additional stress, is the right thing to do," Morrison said.
The business is New Zealand's largest online travel insurer and Morrison said removing the excess would hopefully ensure travellers who suffered minor ailments would seek medical attention more promptly, to prevent a minor problem from becoming a major and costly one.
The insurers' research showed that more than half of all Kiwi travellers had suffered from some sort of minor illness while overseas, the most common of these being a cold or flu (19 per cent), travellers' diarrhoea (16 per cent) and travel sickness (12 per cent).
"We recently had a case where a coral cut wasn't checked. It then got badly infected and cost $60,000 to fly the traveller home from Rarotonga via air ambulance," Morrison said.
"Similarly, a traveller to Australia was hospitalised with a foot ulcer and cellulitis caused by a spider bite, which then required an upgrade to business class in order to have the foot elevated during the flight home," he said.
The removal of the excess will take effect from today, Morrison said. The excess has been in place almost three years.