The Snowbird Annual Plan

Summer 2002 CSANews Issue 43  |  Posted date : Apr 06, 2007.Back to list

We all know that snowbirds are special people. They are more active, more curious, more adventurous, friendlier and they certainly travel more than most people.

For several years, Medipac has searched for an insurance underwriter who would provide snowbirds with a proper annual travel insurance program. The main stumbling block has always been pricing. Most people who are sold annual plans actually do not travel very much and, therefore, have very few claims. The insurers know that snowbirds DO travel and, as such, they have always looked for what we believe to be exorbitant premiums. After analyzing many plan designs and using our many CSA member surveys as an information base, our insurer of choice, Manulife, has agreed to underwrite our new 23-Day Annual Plan Add-On.

The 23-day time limit was chosen to satisfy the needs of more than 95 per cent of the extra trips our members take outside of Canada, and we have made provision for trip extensions of up to 40 days. This will allow for the rare extended trip in excess of 23 days that may be taken. One of the other key provisions of our Add-On is that travel within Canada, outside your province of residence, is covered as well. We believe that we have now found the ideal combination of benefits and pricing to provide travel protection for the vast majority of snowbirds.

Time constraints did not allow us to make all the changes we wanted to our Early Bird Program, and one of them was a reduction in many of our administration fees. For the Main Season, we have reduced most fees by between 20 and 50 per cent. This is of particular interest to those who divide their winter

vacation into two segments around the Christmas period. If you elected to purchase the Annual Plan Add-On, you may "top up" the Add-On for the second leg of your trip. The "top up" administration fee is only $20, as opposed to the normal $40 for other plans, and the savings can add up. As a bit of advice, you should buy the Add-On with the shorter of the two segments, and then "top up" for the longer segment. Some Early Bird purchasers choosing two trips were unaware of the top-up option for their second trip. I have instructed our Medipac staff to review all of these policies and to refund any excess premiums paid. No action is required on your part and refund cheques will be issued by mid-September.

Another factor to consider for any of your short trips is the potential claim process. As you are not required to notify us of your departure date (except when "topping up," of course), the claims examiner must have proof of your departure date from your home province. This is how we, and any other insurance plan, will monitor the 23 days of coverage. The easiest way to ensure that proper documentation is available is to use your credit card both before and after crossing any border, especially if you are driving. Please save any receipts for gasoline, hotels, meals, etc. as they may be needed. A stamp in your passport or on your entry visa should be requested when possible and, needless to say, airline, cruise or bus ticket receipts will also conclusively prove your travel dates.

The initial results of our Add-On endorsement have been strong and we thank you for being so patient during our search. May you have many special holidays travelling with Medipac.