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The Ministry of Economics, Energy, and Tourism Defends Consumers with Changes to Regulations on Tour Operators’ Mandatory Insurance

The Ministry of Economics, Energy, and Tourism Defends Consumers with Changes to Regulations on Tour Operators’ Mandatory Insurance
21.03.2012

The Ministry of Economics, Energy, and Tourism has proposed changes to conditions and articles related to required insurance regulations, as they impact the insurance responsibilities of tour operators. The amendments will expand coverage to consumers during fixed-sum organized travel. The proposed changes will establish a detailed framework for declaring the amount of tour operators’ turnover, so as to determine the minimum amount of insurance required. At the same time, the minimum amount of insurance as determined by the tour operators’ turnover is set to increase three to seven hundred percent.

Given a declaration of yearly turnover from the previous year of 100,000 leva, the proposed amount of required insurance would be 50,000 leva. According to the insurance carriers, the highest level of insurance would be set at 1.4 million leva (based on a yearly turnover over three million leva).

The change to the regulations includes a specific minimum amount for insurance policies held by all tour operators offering organized travel in the country, including charter flights. The amount of the insurance would again be based on the turnover from the previous year, but could not be less than 500,000 leva.

Tour operators are required to notify insurers with whom they have contracts of the previous year’s turnover, and to include an annex increasing the amount in the event that the previous year’s turnover has increased.

A tour operator is required to include as part of the yearly turnover a proportional amount of a charter’s cost purchased on behalf of tourists, even if it is sold by other tour operators or tourist agencies.

At present, the regulation in force dates from 01.01.2003. The conditions of this regulation do not accurately reflect the real income in the sector, and cannot guarantee consumers of complete coverage in the event of a mishap for which they are insured.

After approval by the Council of Ministers, the new regulations will go into effect as soon as they are published in the State Records. All insurance contracts in force prior to this date must be provided with an annex within two months, so as to reflect the new minimum insurance requirements.

Suggestions related to the proposed legislation may be sent by e-mail within a 14-day period to the following address: ma.ivanova@mee.government.bg.

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