By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, April 9 — Information on which foreign insurance companies will be accepted by Cuba to sell travel insurance for people visiting the Caribbean island should be available starting April 20, a Cuban consulate staff member told Havana Times on Thursday.
Back in early March, Cuban authorities announced that as of May 1, all tourists, Cubans residing abroad and temporary foreign residents in Cuba would be required to hold a travel insurance policy to cover any health care services rendered from the island’s facilities.
The cubatravel.cu website has the latest information available —albeit incomplete— for visitors who don’t have recognized insurance coverage when they arrive in Cuba.
Most Canadians and Europeans routinely purchase travel insurance before leaving their home countries and many of their insurers may be accepted by Cuba.
However, one of the largest groups of visitors to the island —Cuban-Americans— will have to purchase their travel insurance from a Cuban company. This is because no US company can have business dealings with the island due to the economic blockade Washington has imposed on it for nearly a half century.
Cubatravel.cu says a network of travel agencies associated with the Havanatur-Celimar company will be offering coverage to that growing group of visitors to Cuba.
Upon reaching a Cuban port of entry, travelers will be required to show a policy, insurance certificate or travel assistance card that is valid during their stay in Cuba.
For those without insurance, cubatravel.cu says coverage will be offered with prices ranging from 2.00 to 3.00 CUC per day ($2.50 to $3.75 USD).
This information leaves the following questions unanswered:
1.- Where is the official list of insurance companies of foreign countries to be accepted by the Cuban authorities?
2.- If Cuban travel insurance is sold in CUCs (the island’s hard currency) and the arriving passengers do not possess that currency, will money exchange facilities be available or will equivalent amounts in foreign currencies be accepted to purchase the travel insurance?
3.- Will foreigners living and working in Cuba under temporary residency status (these include technical people working for Cuban government entities and representatives of foreign businesses) have to pay the same daily rate multiplied by 365 for one year’s coverage?