Bali jam hits hip pock­ets

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - ROBYN IRON­SIDE CINDY WOCK­NER

AUS­TRALIAN trav­ellers are learn­ing a harsh les­son about the need for in­sur­ance, with many see­ing their “cheap” Bali hol­i­day blow out by thou­sands of dol­lars as a re­sult of the vol­canic ash cloud.

The in­sur­ance in­dus­try es­ti­mates as many as 30 per cent of Aus­tralians trav­el­ling to Bali do so with­out in­sur­ance – or about 330,000 a year.

Cairns’ Joshua Pater­son is among those fac­ing a bill for thou­sands of dol­lars af­ter be­ing stuck in Bali since last Fri­day.

He trav­elled to the In­done­sian is­land with a group of friends, and never dreamt he would be there for al­most a week longer than planned.

“It’s been a bloody mess,” said Mr Pater­son.

“We keep be­ing told ( by air­line Jet­star) that we’re on a pri­or­ity list but they are not yet op­er­at­ing ser­vices to Cairns.”

Mel­bourne’s Prim­mer fam­ily opted to fly via Sin­ga­pore and Dar­win in or­der to get home by to­mor­row.

Sue Prim­mer said the al­ter­na­tive was to wait for a di­rect flight next Wed­nes­day.

“We had to pay an ex­tra five nights for the mo­tel. My in­sur­ance will only pay for my mo­tel, it won’t pay for food,” she said.

Most air­lines fly­ing out of Bali are not pro­vid­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion for af­fected pas­sen­gers be­cause the sit­u­a­tion is be­yond their con­trol.

How­ever Vir­gin Aus­tralia is be­lieved to be putting any­one up who has no other op­tion but to sleep at the air­port.

In­sur­ance Coun­cil of Aus­tralia spokesman Camp­bell Fuller said air­lines, in­sur­ers and the Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade were work­ing to­gether to as­sist peo­ple in Bali.

“Thou­sands are be­ing helped by their in­sur­ers with things like the pro­vi­sion of ac­com­mo­da­tion and re­im­burse­ment for un­ex­pected costs,” Mr Fuller said.

A DFAT spokes­woman said there was a pro­vi­sion in “ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances” for small emer­gency loans for Aus­tralian trav­ellers through the con­sulate in Bali.

But to date there had not been a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in de­mand for such as­sis­tance.

“DFAT strongly rec­om­mends that all Aus­tralians trav­el­ling over­seas take out com­pre­hen­sive travel in­sur­ance,” she said.

Craig Mor­ri­son from South­ern Cross Travel In­sur­ance said they had seen a 47 per cent in­crease in calls as a re­sult of the Bali ash cloud. He ad­vised af­fected trav­ellers to doc­u­ment all their ex­penses.

It’s been a bloody mess JOSHUA PATER­SON

townsvillebulletin. com. au/ pride­o­faus­tralia

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