Launching in October, Manulife Financial Group is to provide a new travel insurance policy that also includes Covid-19 in its emergency medical coverage. The new policy will be available for domestic and international Canadian travellers planning trips even to countries subject to a level 3 travel advisory, which warns against non-essential travel – and which Canada has issued for all countries.
Manulife’s policy has a non-Covid-19 emergency medical coverage limit of CA$5 million, and a Covid-19 limit of $200,000. It will also cover daily quarantine-related expenses of $150 per person or $300 per family for up to 14 days, Manulife said. In addition, if a level 3 advisory is upgraded to level 4, Manulife says that it will pay a combined $500 per person for return airfare, meals and accommodation.
Sufficient Covid-19 medical cover needed to encourage international travel
Despite announcing in March, like many other travel insurers did, that they would stop covering trip cancellations or interruptions related to the pandemic as the disease was deemed a ‘known event’, Manulife’s new offering will now restore some coverage for coronavirus-related trip interruptions.
While the enhanced offering is a welcome addition to the market, some, like insurance lawyer Sivan Tumarkin, are concerned that the Covid-19 limit provided by Manulife may not be sufficient cover should an individual actually need to claim on the insurance policy – especially in a country such as the US, where the medical expenses are ‘astronomical’. “We've heard about these cases of people who are hospitalised on ventilators for days, weeks, who are close to death and it takes them months, perhaps, to recover,” he said.
Others argue that encouraging travel while the Canadian government is actively advising against all travel is a contradictory at best. But this is certainly not the first instance of companies (and countries) taking insurance offerings into their own hands – ROCK Insurance is among those who are now offering cover to people travelling against FCO advice, a move it hopes will support the revival of consumer confidence in the travel industry. If nothing else, an enhanced domestic insurance offering will no doubt prove very popular among Manulife’s prospective and existing customers who are wary of travelling internationally.
“The pandemic has had extraordinary impacts on the day-to-day lives of Canadians, and at Manulife, our top priority remains the health and safety of our customers, employees, partners and communities. This specialised travel insurance is aimed at helping protect what matters most,” Alex Lucas, head of insurance at Manulife, said in a statement.