Guaranteeing the sunshine


In the aftermath of last year’s British summer which was a wash out, many holidaymakers have decided to head for some warmer weather this year. Anyone going to Spain though may well have been disappointed, with heavy rain on the Costas and the Balearic islands spoiling holidays for many travellers.

So what can you do about it? Well, there’s no way of guaranteeing the sunshine but the blow may be softened if you can obtain financial recompense for a holiday spoiled by lousy weather. This has been impossible in the past but a new scheme is being offered to tour operators which will protect their clients against bad weather on holiday.

WeatherBill, an American company, is already operating in Canada and the States, where one operator, Priceline, is offering to refund the whole cost of the holiday (air fares, hotel bills and car hire) if at least half an inch of rain falls on more than 50% of the days you are away. Believe it or not, London is one of the hundred destinations covered by this promise.

WeatherBill was founded by two former Googlers, David Friedberg and Siraj Khalik, last year and it is not just the travel industry that uses it. Agricultural businesses and outdoors events organisers too have been quick to catch on to the possibility of being able to guarantee profits in the face of an uncertain climate. It is up to the customers to define what exactly they mean by bad weather – drought in the case of the farmers and rain for the theme parks – and customized contracts are quick and easy to draw up. The only requirement is that clients must be worth at least a million dollars.

The bad news is that this cover will not be available in the UK until 2009, so meanwhile all we can do is keep our fingers crossed.


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