TEATT Minister Ludmila de Weever.
PHILIPSBURG–Tourists who want to come to St. Maarten will soon be required to acquire COVID-19 medical insurance prior to their visit, once a plan being worked on by Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Minister Ludmila de Weever goes into effect.
De Weever said the insurance is similar to the COVID-19 insurance that has been introduced by Aruba and insurance companies in St. Maarten have agreed to participate. She has been engaged in talks with various companies to provide insurance to incoming visitors since May of this year. One of the requirements on which De Weever insisted was for the insurance to include medical evacuations, which have now been included. It currently costs US $70 for one week in Aruba and coverage is up to US $75,000. Initially the cost was US $135. The cost for the insurance for visitors to St. Maarten will be approximately the same as in Aruba.
“Up until the point of three to four weeks ago, it was not an option to include medivac, which was a primary concern especially for visitors coming from North America,” she said. “And I am happy to announce that the system is absolutely ready to go live and this is based on the programme that Aruba has. “We are just waiting on a couple of items to streamline it for a presentation to come to the Council of Ministers. I would like the public to be aware that one of the requirements was that every insurance company registered to do business on the Dutch side was included in the pool of insurance companies to add into the programme that Aruba started.”
She explained that the bigger the pool is in terms of visitors, the cheaper the insurance will be. “So, it is significantly cheaper than when it first started in Aruba. I cannot divulge the details of it now until we sign off on it, but we won’t expect it to go live until sometime at the end of October possibly. But it is there and we are looking at a separate requirement for [visitors from – Ed.] North America versus Europe.”
In the meantime, NAGICO Insurances confirmed that it has been involved in discussions with government about the COVID-19 insurance for tourists travelling to the country.
Aruba had introduced the mandatory insurance for tourists as a condition for visitors. Their mandatory insurance policy had been developed with the Aruba insurance sector and serves to cover the cost of isolation, medical and hospital expenses and transport/repatriation in case a visitor has COVID-19. For Aruba, the traveller must purchase the COVID-19 insurance prior to boarding a flight to that destination.