Exceptional Assistance Measures for victims of terrorist incidents overseas

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Minister for Consular Affairs Jeremy Browne laid a written statement to Parliament on the special assistance the Foriegn Office offers for British victims of terrorist incidents and their families.

Since 2004, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has offered specific assistance for British victims of terrorist incidents overseas and their families. Originally known as the Aftercare Plan, but renamed Exceptional Assistance Measures (EAM) in 2008, it was introduced in recognition of the fact that many travel insurance policies explicitly exclude acts of terrorism from their cover. EAM allows ministers to activate special assistance to victims of terrorist attacks above the standard consular package. This can include medical evacuation, payment of immediate medical expenses and repatriation. It is only ever activated in extremis.

When the policy was first introduced in 2004, EAM could be awarded to any British victim of a terrorist incident abroad, regardless of whether or not the person had travel insurance. However, in June 2008 the Government at the time decided to impose restrictions on EAM eligibility, excluding those victims who did not have travel insurance.

I have decided to overturn this decision and restore EAM for all British Nationals affected by a terrorist attack overseas, regardless of whether or not they have travel insurance. Acts of terrorism are singularly heinous crimes, usually targeting innocent people at random. It is right that all British victims of terrorist attacks overseas can receive the same level of support from the Government.

EAM only covers incidents overseas that are deemed to be acts of terrorism by Her Majesty’s Government. They do not replace travel insurance. British nationals travelling overseas are strongly advised to take out comprehensive travel insurance. Those that do not and are involved in accidents or incidents often deeply regret it when faced with huge bills.

Key elements of the Exceptional Assistance Measures are:

i) The measures will only be activated as a last resort, where financial assistance is not made available through other means, i.e. from the government of the country where the incident took place, insurance providers or other agencies and organisations, and in a situation we deem to be terrorist in nature;

ii) Assistance, under these measures, will not be made available to those who have travelled to a country or region for which the FCO had advised against all travel;

iii) The measures do not cover medical care in the UK or long term care in relation to conditions relating to the effects of the terrorist incident;

iv) These measures will be activated on a case-by-case basis by ministerial decision.