Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More Bad News for Cruise Value Center Customers: They Have Another Problem - Prime Travel Protection Protects No More!

On November 13, 2008 I wrote about Cruise Value Center closing its doors (http://goldringtravel.blogspot.com/2008/11/cruise-value-center-shuts-its-doors.html).  Today the company that insured many of the Cruise Value Center clients has gone into liquidation and is probably going to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (i.e. no chance of recovery).

According the ASTA, American Society of Travel Agents, in a notice today:

Prime Travel Protection, a travel insurance company based in Arvada, Colo., announced that it has initiated a liquidation of services, effective Jan. 26, 2009. A statement on the company's Web site indicates that customers will be receiving written communication relating to the processing and resolution of claims and that all inquiries will be handled by legal counsel or court appointed trustee. According to Travel Weekly, Prime Travel Protection President Jerry Watson stated that the company is looking at a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or self-liquidation with a trust receivership, claims will be handled through the bankruptcy court or the trust, and funds to settle claims would come from liquidating assets.



Customers who used a credit card to purchase a policy from Prime Travel Protection and determine that their policy is no longer valid may contact their credit card company to dispute the charge. Under the Fair-Credit Billing Act, cardholders have 60 days from the time they receive the billing statement on which a charge first appears to refuse payment for services not rendered. Instructions for doing so appear on the back of all credit card statements. Even if a customer has already paid the charge, or if the 60-day window noted above has passed, it is still advisable to request a credit for the charge....Customers who purchased travel insurance from Prime Travel Protection and have not yet traveled should consider obtaining alternate insurance coverage, if applicable. 

Prime Protection Travel's website merely states:

Prime Travel Protection, Inc. has initiated an orderly liquidation of services, effective Monday, January 26, 2009.


All inquiries will be handled by legal counsel and/or court appointed trustee.

We regret to inform you of this decision, however it was undertaken after consultation with our professional advisors.

You will be receiving written communication relating to the process and resolution of your claim.
 
In short, if you paid for Prime Travel Insurance and have not yet traveled, you probably don't have insurance, but may be able to recover the premium you paid for the insurance if you paid with, and dispute the charge through, your credit card.  You will need, however, to obtain alternative insurance.  (Those with pre-existing conditions or within the penalty period, this may create additional issues for you so be careful before - and what - you purchase.)

If you already have a claim pending with Prime, I would assume your chances of a recovery is slim.