Posts Tagged ‘travel safety’

AccuWeather Launches New Mosquito Zika Risk Index for US

October 18, 2017

Accuweather-zika

AccuWeather, a major source of weather forecasts and warnings, announced a Mosquito Zika Risk Index on AccuWeather.com and AccuWeather iOS apps. Availability on the AccuWeather app for Android will follow soon.

The first-of-its-kind index gives users a quick and easy way to view the likelihood of mosquito infestations that could lead to greater risk of contracting the Zika virus at a particular location in the contiguous U.S. The Index will help people understand where the greatest concentrations of mosquitos exist (which may carry other pathogens as well) and where and how this is related to possible Zika carrying concentrations.  The Index is not a medical warning or diagnosis and decisions about one’s health and related risks and is not intended to be, those decisions should always be made in concert with medical professionals.  The Index can alert people to relatively unsafe areas; keeping in mind that a Zika carrying mosquito could exist in safer areas as well.

The Mosquito Zika Risk Index level (very low, low, medium, or high) is generated by evaluating the historical habitat for the mosquito species most linked with Zika and the latest scientific research on how weather affects Zika transmission by mosquitos, then combining it with the AccuWeather Day-By-Day 90-Day Forecasts. This innovative index benefits users by providing real-time insights they can use to make informed decisions to keep themselves, and their families, safe.

“Weather is an enormous factor when it comes to our health,” said Steve Smith, President of Digital Media, AccuWeather. “We are glad to lead the way in offering an array of innovative product enhancements that help people derive important and useful information from our weather forecasts.  This new Mosquito Zika Risk index will help people make better decisions to protect their health by giving them the insight they need to avoid risky scenarios, or take necessary precautions when visits to high-risk areas are unavoidable.”

People can access the Mosquito Zika Risk Index from the Personalized Forecasts Menu on the AccuWeather.com homepage. Select the Mosquito forecast and click the button labeled “Check Your Zika Risk” to open the Mosquito Zika Risk Index page.

Risk level information for the user’s location will be presented at the top of the page. If Zika cases suspected to have been transmitted by mosquitos have been reported at this location, the number of cases will be displayed. Users can view details for additional U.S. locations by clicking on the map displayed on the page.

An interactive timeline lets visitors see predicted risk levels over a 90-day period, with color coding to indicate the risk contours on the map. This is particularly helpful at this time of the year, when rapid changes to Zika mosquito risk occur as temperature patterns change during the Fall.  Tapping the dates on the timeline triggers the map to show the index for different timeframes.

Users of the AccuWeather app for iOS can access the Mosquito Zika Risk Index from the menu located in the bottom right corner of the screen. Expanding this menu and selecting “View Map” opens a map page with a gray search box at the top of the screen. Tapping on the search box permits users to choose “Zika Risk from Mosquitos” from a selection of maps. Users can then scroll around the map, zoom in and out by pinching the screen, and tap on an area to see the current Zika risk in that location. Color-coded risk levels, from low to high, displayed on the map make the information quickly and easily accessible and understandable.

The Mosquito Zika Risk Index is AccuWeather’s latest product enhancement designed to save and improve people’s lives by providing contextually relevant information, in this case to reduce the risk of an infectious disease. In addition to ensuring safety with the most accurate weather forecasts and warnings, AccuWeather.com and the company’s iOS and Android apps already include a Pollen Index to help people protect themselves against pollen as an allergen. Having the most accurate forecasts and warnings also gives migraine or joint pain sufferers the information they need to avoid humidity, and people with asthma the information they need to avoid dry conditions.

“This new Mosquito Zika Risk Index takes our efforts to use weather forecasts for improved health one step further,” said Smith. Smith also noted that the index is especially timely during this extraordinary hurricane season, when residents of Texas and Florida are experiencing a greater pooling of standing water due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which may ultimately lead to greater infestations of mosquitoes.

Dr. Joacim Rocklov, Associate Professor in Epidemiology and Global Health at Umea University, Sweden, urges caution about the threat of Zika virus following a major flood event.  “The risk of Zika typically decreases in the first month following a flood event, then increases in the two- to three-month time frame before falling back to normal levels,” he said.

Nearly 2 billion people worldwide rely on AccuWeather to help them plan their lives, protect their businesses, and get more from their day. AccuWeather provides hour-by-hour and minute-by-minute forecasts with Superior Accuracy™ with customized content and engaging video presentations available through smart phones, tablets, free wired and mobile Internet sites via AccuWeather.com, award-winning AccuWeather apps, connected TVs, wearables, smart homes, and connected cars, as well as radio, television, newspapers, and the AccuWeather Network cable channel.

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Travel Insurance Company Promotes Cancel For Any Reason Coverage in Wake of Terrorism Concerns

August 17, 2016

MIAMI – With the events which took place in Paris, Brusssels, Nice, Thailand and other destinations, travelers struggle to balance their vital interest in cultural enrichment and world experiences with common sense precautions to safeguard themselves, their families and their investments.  April Travel Protection, a travel insurance company, is attempting to educate Americans on the ins and outs of travel insurance to help travelers understand what is and what isn’t covered under various policies.

“In many cases, travelers purchase insurance policies with certain expectations only to find out their policy does not afford the protection they initially believed,” said Jason Schreier, CEO of APRIL USA. “Unfortunately, many travel insurance policies are not very clear about the precise circumstances in which coverage is triggered, and policyholders often fail to read or have difficulty comprehending the fine print.”

As an industry standard, travel insurance does not include “fear of traveling” based on terror threats. Terrorism is only covered in cases where an attack impacts travel plans prior to or during travel. Policies must also be purchased before the terrorism event takes place.

“This is an important distinction as it precludes trip cancellation coverage based on state department advisories, including instances where intelligence agencies have credible information on an impending attack,” Schreier explained.

APRIL’s philosophy is to provide easy-to-understand agreements in order to help prospective policyholders choose the right options for their specific needs. And while the company’s forward-thinking policies are among the most comprehensive in the industry, Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage provides the ultimate peace of mind for travelers concerned about planning travel in an era complicated by terrorism.

CFAR provides the ultimate protection as it places the decision of trip cancellation squarely in policyholders’ hands. One’s reasoning behind the cancellation request-whether it be fear of terrorism, Zika infection or simple buyers’ remorse-is left to their own discretion.

“Most insurance companies charge an arm and a leg for CFAR coverage,” said Schreier. “We make CFAR reasonable and affordable in our VIP plan.”

The typical standard for CFAR coverage options practiced by the majority of travel insurance companies is a 45% or 50% surcharge on top of the total policy cost. For example, a 55-year-old insuring a $10,000 trip would incur an additional charge of $315 to $350 on top of the base policy premium. Comparatively, the cost for CFAR on APRIL’s VIP Plan is only $60-a flat charge that does not increase regardless of the trip cost or the age of the policyholder.

“There are so many ‘unknown’ events that cannot be predicted, and of course, sickness or a broken leg are significantly more likely than a terrorist attack, but shouldn’t we cover it all just in case? This is the reasoning behind CFAR and is why it affords the most comprehensive coverage available,” explains Schreier.

Additionally, all policies sold by APRIL and its partners feature “instant adjudication” at the core of APRIL’s signature ‘Stress Less’ Benefits-a ground-breaking feature which allows policyholders to enjoy their vacation without having to worry about out-of-pocket expenses in an emergency.

The first insurance company to provide this progressive benefit to U.S. policyholders, APRIL offers instant adjudication for a wide range of potential inconveniences that can’t be predicted in advance, including emergency medical coverage up to $250,000 (with no deductible), trip interruption covering up to 150% of your trip’s cost, and evacuation benefits up to $500,000. Cancellations are eligible for reimbursement of 100% of their trip costs for situations including injury, sickness, death, job loss or relocation, supplier default, weather, natural disasters, terrorism, military duty, strikes and more.

APRIL’s takes a pro-active approach that keeps up with travelers’ evolving needs with a multi-lingual team and 24/7 toll-free access from most destinations as well as other convenient support channels from Skype to texting, email and live chat. APRIL claims to be the first company to pioneer these support methods for American travelers.

APRIL Travel Protection is owned by APRIL, an international group with 45 operational companies in more than 40 different countries.  APRIL is listed on Euronext Stock Exchange and has yearly sales of more than $1.1 billion.

The company’s U.S. division is supported by American Modern Insurance Group (an AM Best A+ rated carrier) as its preferred underwriter and is headquartered at 11900 Biscayne Blvd. Suite 600, Miami, FL, 33181.

Visit www.AprilTravelProtection.com to learn more.
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Africa Travel Association urges ‘rational decision making’ regarding Ebola

October 22, 2014
"Now, more than ever, ATA hopes you will join our association in supporting, and standing in solidarity with Africa. ATA calls on travelers to make educated and rational decisions and cautions against the influence of sensationalized media" Africa Travel Association

“Now, more than ever, ATA hopes you will join our association in supporting, and standing in solidarity with Africa. ATA calls on travelers to make educated and rational decisions and cautions against the influence of sensationalized media”
Africa Travel Association

The Africa Travel Association (ATA) is a leading global trade association promoting travel and tourism to Africa and strengthening intra-Africa partnerships. Established in 1975, ATA serves both the public and private sectors of the international travel and tourism industry. ATA members include African governments, tourism ministers, tourism bureaus and boards, airlines, cruise lines, hotels, resorts, front-line travel agents, tour operators, and a media. ATA partners with the African Union Commission (AU) to promote the sustainable development of tourism to and across Africa.

ATA issued the following statement concerning Ebola:

ATA remains concerned about the Ebola virus and its far-reaching effects, and related perceptions, on the travel and tourism sector in Africa. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the most severely affected countries are Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, however, the Africa tourism industry has felt stark repercussions across the continent through economic losses, cancelled flights and bookings, closed borders, and negative perceptions. These impacts reach far beyond the borders of those affected countries.

ATA urges the travel industry and traveling public to remain cautious, however, to acknowledge the immense size of the continent and to continue to travel to the vast majority of the countries that remain safe. With a landmass of 30.2 million square kilometers, the African continent is larger than China, India, and the United States combined, with its 54 independent countries.

ATA does not support the cancellation of flights to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone as this creates further isolation, impeding the delivery of critical medical supplies and travel by aid workers, which can exacerbate the situation. According to the WHO, the countries affected “have very weak health systems, lacking human and infrastructural resources, having only recently emerged from long periods of conflict and instability.”

Now, more than ever, ATA hopes you will join our association in supporting, and standing in solidarity with Africa. ATA calls on travelers to make educated and rational decisions and cautions against the influence of sensationalized media. Africa has always suffered from challenges of perception relating to ignorance and a lack of understanding of the continent by citizens from around the world.

Despite these challenges, ATA remains optimistic about travel and tourism to the African continent. In 2013, Africa welcomed over 65 million visitors, consistently increasing its share in the global travel marketplace. Africa is an exciting travel destination, one of world’s most dynamic travel destinations for tourists seeking for adventure, exceptional cultural exchange and heritage tours, diverse culinary experiences, unparalleled safari and wildlife opportunities, first-class beaches, and a wealth of investment opportunities. In pursuit of its mission, ATA believes that tourism is a powerful tool for promoting economic growth, job creation, investment and cultural exchange.

Additionally, ATA encourages travelers to find the most up-to-date information here:

World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/en

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola

For more information on ATA, visit www.africatravelassociation.org or call 212.447.1357.

 

 

Passenger Group Calls on Airlines to Disclose Routes That Fly Over Conflict Zones

July 31, 2014

Following the missile strike that downed MH-17 as it flew over eastern Ukraine, FlyersRights.org, the largest US-based airline passenger organization, has called on all airlines to provide passengers on international flights with detailed route maps on their web sites, so passengers can decide whether to take such flights for themselves.

“Airlines should no longer be able hide behind weak and ambiguous international regulation and confidential warnings that are not shared with passengers,” Paul Hudson, the group’s president and longtime member of the FAA and TSA advisory committees on aviation safety and security stated.

“After the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, it came to light that governments and airlines had received specific warnings of a likely bombing, but chose to hide this knowledge from passengers and flight crews, those actually at risk. Now it has been revealed that some airlines were flying over eastern Ukraine despite danger warnings that were not shared with passengers.”

“Today despite known dangers and the MH 17 shoot down, passengers are not being informed of dangerous flights over or near numerous conflict zones with missile systems capable of shooting down commercial airliners at over 30,000 feet. Such areas in addition to Ukraine and Russia, include Syria, Iraq, Egypt-Sinai, Israel-Gaza, the China Sea, North Korea, Pakistan-Afghanistan. Other conflict areas are known to have anti-aircraft weapons capable of downing low flying aircraft including Libya, Yemen, and Mali.”

“An emergency meeting of the UN International Civil Aeronautics Organization (ICAO) is being held to discuss the situation, but passenger representatives have unfortunately again been excluded from meetings between airlines and regulators, as they were previously after the mysterious disappearance of another Malaysian airliner over the Indian Ocean.”

See: flyersrights.org

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