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Dear Bird Talk,

I have been searching unsuccessfully up and down the Internet for

information on where to meet Canadian snowbirds. As Canadian

snowbirds, we would like to interact with other Canadians and have

difficulty finding groups of people that are looking to do the same. We

know about the CanAm days, but we would like to meet people now.

Any suggestions?

Guy Tessier, Brockville, ON


Sure; find a Canadian Club to join in your area. Any CSA director can help,

or simply call the CSA office at 1-800-265-3200. I also recommend dropping in

at the local trailer park, condo complex or gold course community in your area,

to see if they have any Canadian activities.

Dear Bird Talk,

Snowbirds who are looking at renting a house in Florida that uses propane

for heating a pool should be very careful. Although some people claim

that heating a pool with propane is similar in cost to that for hydro,

propane rates from propane suppliers vary widely based on a home’s

annual usage volume. For example, the propane charge for one house

here in Florida was $6.33 per gallon and the heater uses three to four

gallons per hour. That results in an approximately $20 per hour charge

for heating the pool.

Ian Taylor, Huntsville, ON


We use propane to heat our pool in Florida and it is very inexpensive. Rates

vary dramatically based on your location. Always check prices for the basics

before renting or buying and, if renting, try to have that included in the price.

Dear Bird Talk,

I wish to complain about your irritating, loud commercial that is repeated

on BNN, last aired at 6:55 mtn time, January 2. The beeping is overly

loud. I will never buy your product because of this commercial. If this

is not toned down, I will complain to the CRTC.

Tom Gosche, Edmonton, AB


We are always happy to hear your opinion. We thought that the commercial

was kind of cute and a little provocative. It seems to have really provoked you,

obviously. As to the loud beeps, we have no control over that. We have dealt

with false complaints with every government agency in Canada, all filed by our

competitors, but the CRTC would be a first. But first, you have to tell us why we

should spend our time doing political dances with the CRTC rather than taking care

of the medical emergencies with which we must deal every day of our lives. My

guess is that you have never bought our product anyway – that is your mistake.

Dear Bird Talk,

Your commercial with the horseshoes, lucky clovers, etc. is repulsive and

makes travelling look like an extremely unpleasant experience where

you have to interact with creepy people.

If I were you, and selling travel insurance, I would be trying to make

travelling look like a pleasant experience that people would like to do

more of. Instead, you’re encouraging me, and probably others, to stay

home in front of our beautiful, cozy televisions where we don’t have to

be subject to questions from overbearing security officials.

I’m sure your advertising agency convinced you that customers would

see the humour in their approach. They’re wrong.

L.J. Duncan


We hope the unpleasantness only relates to travel without proper insurance.

Yes, they did convince us and we knew that some people would be offended. I

was not particularly happy with it either, as we have spent 30 years doing exactly

what you suggest – showing happy people and happy travellers at happy and

fun locations. It was time to at least try a different approach to the TV ads and

we did raise awareness of Medipac Travel Insurance by quite a margin. Will this

ad return? I doubt it.

Dear Bird Talk,

I have a question that hopefully, you can answer. Why do insurance

companies that provide outside-of-Canada health insurance have you

pay a higher premium for health insurance if you have a change in

medication, with higher or lower dose, and you are deemed unstable

for 180 days and you are not covered for this ailment?

John Young, Olds, AB


You should NEVER buy insurance that does not insure you for the illnesses

which you have. It’s like buying tires for your car, but you do not own one. Basically,

what these insurers are saying to you is that because you have this unstable

condition, you are at higher risk to have other problems and should, therefore,

pay more. If you have stomach cramps, for instance, and you have one driving

a car, your risk is far higher than a normal person; if you have a heart issue and

someone startles you, you could have a heart attack, etc. The medication change

also presents many opportunities for side-effects as your body has not adjusted

to the new drug regimen yet. I would find a 90-day pre-ex clause like the one

offered by Medipac.

Dear Bird Talk,

This may be old hat to experienced snowbirds, but it was news to us.

We are newbie snowbirds planning to spend February through April

in South Carolina. We put our second car into storage and removed all

but comprehensive insurance; the resultant savings paid for the storage

fees three times over. So our car is stored safely and, in effect, ‘for free’.

Gary Myers, Aylesford, NS


This is called “removing the driving coverages” and it is very cost-effective.

An added bonus is that your agent has now been advised that you and your other

car will be in the U.S. for several months. This will avoid claims issues, should

you have that fender-bender in the U.S.

Dear Bird Talk,

My wife has been undergoing chemo and radiation treatments in Florida.

These treatments have consumed most of the six months on our visa.

There are now followup scans and consolidation chemo treatments.

How do we get an extension to the six-month visa?

David Woodruff, Ontario


We have found that the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) has

been very helpful when dealing with compassionate issues. I suggest that you

call the local office, tell them your story and ask for an extension of your verbal

B2 visa. They should guide you through the process and I am almost certain that

you will get approval. Make sure that you keep copies of your request with you.

Dear Bird Talk,

In the fall 2014 Issue 92, the Vice President states that the data for

individuals crossing from Canada into the U.S. is not yet exchanged

between the two countries. While Googling this question on the Internet,

I found that many references are made to reflect that they “do exchange”

the information. Can you tell me what the status is?

Louise Belisle, Cumberland, ON


That is correct; the formal implementation has been delayed. But they are

testing and refining the processes during this ramp-up period, so I would act


Dear Bird Talk,

I saw this on Facebook this a.m. Is it true? Don Peddle posted: Yesterday



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