Posted date : Sep 21, 2020.
I have two issues with travel insurance. Firstly, although I continue to pay premiums for out-of-country insurance, the insurer will not cover any travel to Florida if I fall ill to coronavirus, because the Canadian Travel Service is advising against non-essential travel to the U.S. The insurance companies are collecting huge dollars in premiums, with minimal claims risk. Is CSA lobbying insurers to refund a portion of premiums, similar to what the auto insurers are doing?
Secondly, as one looks to potential travel this fall/winter, it would appear that no Canadian will be able to acquire any travel insurance that will include coronavirus until the Canada Travel Advisory changes the current advisory. I assume that the CSA-sponsored insurance also does not include coronavirus coverage? For many snowbirds, the availability of out-of-country travel insurance (that includes coronavirus coverage) will be the principal factor in terms of whether one dares to set foot in the U.S.
Ed.: I have to address that one comment about insurers having “minimal claims risk.” Last year, one of the insurers lost $55 million dollars on their travel insurance business. Also, we at Medipac settled more than $35 million dollars in medical claims. So there is, actually, lots of risk. As to refunds like the auto insurers, there is no change in risk for travel insurers. In fact, travel insurers have had dramatically increased risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Medipac did refund millions of dollars when many snowbirds thought that they were being forced to come home and we refunded the unused portion of their premium.
The CSA-sponsored insurance actually does cover COVID-19. Medipac remains committed to paying claims, including COVID-19 claims, for this winter’s travel season. This is the case, even though the Canadian government may still have COVID-19 travel advisories issued. This is a “read the fine print” travel insurance year, as several companies are saying that they will cover you for COVID-19 claims. This is not exactly correct. Some of these policies have not updated their travel advisory clauses and will only cover you if the government removes the COVID-19 travel advisories. Another question which you may want to ask yourself or your other insurer is “Will any claim be paid during a COVID-19 advisory not to travel?”