A handful of hardy travel firms have been sending intrepid Britons to FCO no-go zones for years, Oliver Smith reports.
Wild Frontiers, for example, in business since 2002, has the likes of Algeria, Pakistan, Sudan and the DRC on its route map, and the company’s trips often feature regions the FCO would rather you avoided. So how does it find insurance for its clients?
Jonny Bealby, the firm’s founder, explains:
“We’ve been running trips that contravene FCO advice ever since we started – though not as much as we used to, as lots of countries have become more FCO-friendly is recent years.
“As a general rule of thumb, a standard insurance policy will become entirely invalid the moment you put a fingernail into an FCO red zone – even if you take it out straight away. How they prove it is another matter, but that’s the rules.
“However, we have a specialist, Travel and General, that offers bespoke insurance so we can visit the riskier places. Our policies have three levels: Standard – for when there’s no incursion into FCO dodgy bits, Improved – for when a trip spends a little time in a no-go zone, and Elite – that’s for holidays to Afghanistan and suchlike.
“In terms of price: if the clients are under 65, it’s still pretty reasonable. It then roughly doubles (as most policies do) for over 65s, and doubles again for over 75s.”