Manulife opens insurance window for Canadians

by Leo Almazora21 Oct 2020

Canadian travellers such as snowbirds who may hesitate to fly due to coronavirus concerns may now get a measure of security from Canada’s largest insurance provider.

Manulife Financial is offering a COVID-19-related travel insurance product for Canadians taking trips domestically and internationally, including to countries where a level 3 travel advisory – which urges avoidance of all non-essential travel – is in effect.

“As the largest travel insurance provider in Canada, we understand that some Canadians may have family, business and other important reasons for travelling,” Wally Thompson, head of Distribution, Affinity, Manulife said in an emailed statement to Life and Health Professional. “For those who do decide to travel, Manulife supports the health and safety of Canadians by offering specialized travel insurance for COVID-19.”

The Manulife COVID-19 Pandemic Travel Plan, available until October 31, includes $5 million of non-COVID-19 emergency medical coverage, and $200,000 of coverage for cases of COVID-19. The policy will also provide coverage for quarantine-related expenses amounting to $150 per person or $300 per family for up to 14 days.

The product also provides some coverage linked to trip interruptions or cancellations in the event of quarantine.

In case a level 3 advisory is upgraded to level 4, the company said it will pay a combined $500 per person for return airfare, meals, and accommodation.

Eligible customers booking round-trip international flights with Air Canada may also get complimentary COVID-19 emergency medical and quarantine insurance through the Manulife COVID-19 Emergency Medical Certificate of Insurance.

Open to new international, round-trip bookings made in Canada between September 17 and October 31 – travel must be completed by April 12, 2021 – that plan offers coverage to customers who test positive for COVID-19 when abroad.

According to a statement from Air Canada, its complimentary COVID-19 insurance coverage underwritten by Manulife includes up to $200,000 per insured for COVID-19 treatment medical expenses; up to $150 per person or $300 per family per day for quarantine costs (meals + accommodation), for a maximum of 14 days; and up to $500 for expenses related to return home if the travel advisory for the destination country is upgraded from level 3 to level 4 while at destination.

Manulife joins a handful of other insurers such as Medipac Travel Insurance and the Ontario and Quebec plans of the Canadian Association of Blue Cross, who in past months announced travel insurance coverage related to COVID-19 on a limited basis.

This month, Goose Insurance Services, in partnership with Lloyd’s of London and MSH International (Canada) Ltd, said it is offering a stand-alone pandemic medical insurance policy that offers coverage of up to $500,000 for pandemic-related medical treatment.

Allianz Global Assistance also announced its own COVID-19 Insurance and Assistance Plan, which includes up to $1 million in coverage for COVID-19-related emergency medical treatment including transportation costs and return of a travel companion; quarantine meals and accommodation up to $150 per person per day, up to a maximum of $2,100; and denied boarding due to a COVID-19 screening of up to $300.

Earlier this year, travel insurance providers withdrew their offerings as governments around the world, scrambling to contain the pandemic, closed their borders and raised travel alerts on infected countries. “As you would expect in the current environment, we have seen a sharp decline in travel insurance purchases this year, in line with reduced overall travel activity,” Thompson said.

While the insurance giant is providing COVID-19 pandemic travel insurance, it is still strongly encouraging Canadians to adhere to recommendations issued by the Government of Canada and medical professionals around the world during this time, Thompson said.