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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Personal Accident Policy ~ hazards ~ 'volcano boarding' at Nicaragua

In General Insurance business too, there are policies covering life – not against natural death but against accident and hospitalisation.  Personal Accident Policy provides compensation for any bodily injury (or death) solely and directly caused by external violent and visible means.  The Policy in general provides for table of benefits which are in % of the sum insured opted for.  There can also be medical extention which would provide reimbursement of expenses as arising out of accident.   Most Companies define ‘accident’ as :  a sudden, unforeseen and unexpected event caused by external, violent and visible means and resulting in physical bodily injury.

These are annual policies – some Companies specifically cover not only  major accidents  resulting in death or permanent disablement but also minor injury happening in  daily life.  There are additional benefits in the nature of ‘hospital cash’; legal expenses; funeral grant; education grant to dependent children; double indemnity under specified circumstances and more.

Some of the exclusions are in the nature of : excluding Military or armed forces personnel; use/abuse of  drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicants or hallucinogens unless properly prescribed by a physician and taken as prescribed; participation in an actual or attempted felony, riot, crime, misdemeanour, or civil commotion;  Operating or learning to operate any aircraft, ;  whilst engaged in aviation or ballooning, or whilst mounting into, dismounting from or travelling in any balloon or aircraft other than as a passenger (fare paying or otherwise) in any duly licensed standard type of aircraft anywhere in the world.

For this class of insurance, some are patently higher risks and are excluded- and can be covered by paying additional premium.  They generally are : those engaged in  racing, hunting, mountaineering, ice hockey, winter sports. Observed that one Company’s policy [exclusion] was elaborately worded as :

Excluding - participation in winter sports, skydiving/parachuting, hand gliding, bungee jumping, scuba diving, ballooning, mountain climbing (where ropes or guides are customarily used), riding or driving in races or rallies using a motorized vehicle or bicycle, caving or pot-holing, hunting or equestrian activities, skin diving or other underwater activity, rafting or canoeing involving white water rapids, yachting or boating outside coastal waters (2 Nautical miles), participation in any Professional Sports, any bodily contact sport or/and any other hazardous or potentially dangerous sport for which You are untrained………….

Exhaustive  list one thought ! ~ the purpose – this policy is designed to cover accidental injury or death of ordinary individuals and not those who are exposed to risk professionally and on their volition either out of adventurism or otherwise.  Such lists will have to be expanded / revised from time to time, as this article in MailOnline suggests : 

It is not perhaps the first thing you would think to do when encountering an incredibly active volcano. But the bizarre sport of 'volcano boarding' has certainly taken off in Nicaragua, where travellers join $31 (£20) tours so they can enjoy sliding down enormous ashy slopes. The thrillseekers career down the 2,382ft peak reaching speeds of 60 miles per hour, wearing nothing more than a jumpsuit and goggles for protection and zip down on plywood boards.

The terrifying tours see about 30 travellers at a time hike up the volcano so they can board back down it at breakneck speeds. Travellers speed down the huge ash slopes in just 20 seconds, wearing just a boiler suit and goggles for protection – this bizarre sport takes place on the active Cerro Negro volcano in Nicaragua and sees adventurers hike to the top of the then sit on a plywood board and sledge down the ash. The races down the slopes don't always go to plan, but organisers say the worst injury suffered has been a broken ankle. 

To those engaged, Volcano Boarding is a unique extreme sport and there is no other place on earth you can slide down an active volcano, so the fact that it's an exclusive spot makes it quite special. It is classified as a cinder cone volcano, the most common on the planet, which spews lava fountains through the top or through vents at the base.  Cinder cone volcanoes normally have a 60-year lifespan, but Cerro Negor is 120 years old and has erupted 23 times instead of the average one.  The Cerro Negro volcano is likely to erupt at any time and its last eruption took place in 1999. It is stated that  when the Cerro Negro - which was conceived in 1850 - erupted in 1992, it covered the nearby city of Leon in 8cm of volcanic ash.

Cerro Negro in English means 'black hill' and takes its name from the dense black ash that coats the slopes ~ strange are the ways of people

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th Feb 2015.


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