Insurance

Travel Insurance Sellers and Customers Need to Get on the Same Page

As Canadian insurance regulators intensify their efforts to enhance consumer protections and confidence in travel insurance, brokers and agents are faced with a dilemma: on the one hand, simplifying the purchase of products; on the other hand, ensuring they are appropriate for the specific health and travel needs of their customers. It’s a balancing act that often pits the imperatives of medical underwriters against those of marketers. And it doesn’t get any easier when clients in less-than-perfect heath are confronted by the need to complete—often by telephone, or via the Internet—health questionnaires replete with medical (and legal) terminology that requires searching out definitions further down the page or in another part of the policy. Interviewing applicants is no easy job For agents assisting customers in completing applications by phone, navigating through multilayered questions and recording their responses accurately is no easy job. Without actually recording the interviews, there is…

Five Tips to Speed up Your Travel Insurance Claim

When purchasing travel insurance, holiday-goers are buying into the promise that they will have peace of mind for their vacation. That doesn’t just involve accident or non-accident protection. It extends to the turnaround time of the insurance company once a claim has been made, and the speed in which the insured gets paid. Travellers are often worried about receiving payment from their insurance company after making a claim. What they don’t realize, however, is that insurance claim turnarounds are often held up due to a lack of healthorganization from the insured. Submitting your travel insurance claim correctly will help expedite the claims process. Read on to find out our top tips for submitting your travel insurance claim correctly. Choose wisely It’s important to choose the right travel insurance policy for you. The policy should cover your individual medical needs, should prepare you for non-medical assistance if needed, and should…

Heads Up for Quebec Travel Insurers: Are Warning Labels in Your Future?

Are travel insurance products becoming too complicated to be sold directly to consumers over the Internet or through social media outlets? According to Flavio Vani, president of Quebec’s financial advisors’ organization Association professionnelle des conseillers en services financiers (APCSF), if pending legislation (Bill 141) is enacted in the National Assembly later this year, as expected, all online purchases of insurance products offered in the province without the advice of a registered financial professional should carry warnings similar to those posted on cigarette packages. In an interview for the Insurance and Investment Journal, Vani states that the APCSF has submitted a proposal to the Quebec government asserting that it wants direct sales of financial products to carry an explicit warning that online purchases of insurance products without the advice of a registered professional (who would first analyze the customer’s personal financial situation) “could have a significant impact on an individual and…

What Is a Companion Discount and How Can it Save Money for Canadian Travellers?

Canadians love to travel, particularly when it involves jetting off with a family member or friend. In fact, the latest outbound data for travelling Canadians saw a new record set for the number of trips to overseas countries this past fall. Some 1.1 million Canadian residents returned from overseas countries in November 2017, a rise of 6.8 per cent when compared with the same period a year earlier. These statistics don’t even include trips to the US, which also increased 5.6 per cent in the same period. With travel numbers continuing to rise across 2017, it’s fair to assume Canadians could be hitting the sky in record numbers this year. Increased foreign travel has coincided with a greater need for travel insurance, particularly when considering some countries now request that travellers show proof of medical coverage before entering their borders. Travel insurance is important for a plethora of reasons (providing…

Know Who Pays When Your Flight Doesn’t Go Up

This past summer, two of the UK’s biggest airlines stranded hundreds of thousands of travellers in distant locations by cancelling flights at the last minute and invalidating reservations for future flights already planned: Ryanair because of pilot scheduling problems, and Monarch Airlines because it suddenly went out of business—virtually overnight. What about all of those passengers left stranded overseas? Thanks to some quick action by Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority, and a special consumer protection program in which most vacationers book their trips with specially licensed and bonded travel organizers, most were returned home relatively quickly on aircraft chartered by the CAA at no cost to themselves. But at first glance it was not quite so clear as angered passengers were told by airline staff to call their travel insurers for assistance home and recompense for the costs of making and paying for alternate arrangements. At which point the Association of…

Travel Insurance for Snowbird Season

To millions of Canadian seniors, Thanksgiving weekend kicks off snowbird season: either they’re packing up for the trek south to Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, or beyond, or they’re well into the planning stage—the purchase of travel insurance being a top priority. If you’re among this fast-growing cohort (the Conference Board of Canada estimates the numbers of Canadians aged 55 to 64 will increase by 8 percent annually between 2015 and 2019; and those over 65 by 15 percent per year) you’re going to have plenty of insurance plan choices, albeit at increased premium prices. CBoC estimates that premium prices were 9 percent higher in 2016 over the previous year, and that trajectory will likely remain unchanged this coming season. The sad reality is that so long as American health care costs continue to escalate, Canadian insurers must anticipate paying increasingly expensive claims in US dollars from premiums collected in lower…

Nobody Benefits by Travel Insurance Claim Denials

Though travel insurance claim denials are rare events, they are sure to capture headlines when they do happen. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted for the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada (THIA), 95 percent of all travel claims submitted in Canada are paid. But the consequences of even one claim denial can be frightening and financially devastating. Nobody benefits by a claim denial: obviously not the client, and certainly not the insurer who must absorb the bad publicity and ill feelings such a negative event causes. If It Happens to You Any claim denial should explain in clear, plain language the specific exclusion being applied. For example, if the exclusion precludes payment for an unstable pre-existing condition, you should be shown the evidence in your doctor’s medical records that a condition truly was pre-existing, or unstable, or warranted reporting on a medical underwriting questionnaire. The citation…

Know Your Insurance. Know Your Doctor Too

If you have any chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis or COPD, applying for travel insurance can be somewhat intimidating. After all, you’re not a doctor and the terminology in some of those medical questionnaires is not written in common everyday language. It is a legal contract. Still, if you’re asking to be covered for a foreign trip—short or long—you need to give the insurer a clear, accurate picture of your health status: have you had any new diagnosis or recurrent symptoms over the past 3, 6, or 12 months; have you been treated by a physician, been referred to a specialist, undergone  tests, are awaiting tests or test results, been prescribed new medication, or had your dosage changed, during that time period? Have you talked to your doctor? In preparing for a trip, have you discussed the status of any chronic conditions with your family doctor? Has…

Terror Attack in Spain: How to Stay Aware

Incidents of terrorism swept across Alcanar, Barcelona, and Cambrils taking the lives of 15 people. Residents and visitors experienced great trauma, and the President of Spain declared 3 days of mourning. We stand united with Spain and all countries in the fight against terrorism. And we strongly encourage the return to daily activities, and travels! Add preventative measures to your upcoming trip with the safety checklist below. Purchase travel medical insurance coverage that works for you. Do not be discouraged by a pre-existing conditions, there are options for everyone. And don’t forget to read the fine print. Be aware of the Emergency Assistance feature in your travel medical insurance coverage and how to use it. Register your trip with your government agency, it is free of charge. Ensure your emergency contact information is easily accessible by you, your travel companion, or a Good Samaritan who can help you in the…

Travel Insurance Claim Denial? Demand Answers

If you’ve ever had a travel insurance claim denied, you know how frustrating it can be to get an answer in plain language that tells you why an insurer won’t pay. First of all, let’s get one fable taken care of: Insurers do not routinely deny claims and pay only those for clients who fight back. 95 percent of all travel insurance claims submitted are paid. But if you are among the unfortunate few to receive a claim denial letter and you don’t understand why, you should ask for clarity.  It’s your right. What to do Get right back to the insurer, or the party that sent you the denial letter (it could be the insurer’s assistance company), and ask for a detailed, written report that you can study at your leisure, or take to your doctor. Ask to have key words—such as “pre-existing condition,” “stable,” “condition,” “exclusion,” “eligibility,”…

Do Travel Insurers Cover Pre-existing Conditions?

Given that most people have some health imperfections, it would be unreasonable—and bad business—if travel insurers precluded all pre-existing conditions from coverage. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, irregular heartbeat, circulatory issues, and many other symptoms and conditions that can be controlled and stabilized by medications and periodic physician assessments. These types of things are routinely covered in travel insurance policies—if the insurers are made aware of them before issuing the policy, and if the insured customers understand the limitations placed on that benefit and coverage. In covering pre-existing conditions, the most important thing insurers need to know is whether or not they are stable, how long have they been stable and what medications and treatments they have required to keep them stable. Essentially, what risk are insurers undertaking in covering them? This leads to the biggest question of all: what is “Stable,” anyway? Many Canadians, before leaving on longer trips,…

Questions about Studying Abroad? We’re Here to Help

International students! Studying abroad is a great adventure—but heading far away from home can also be intimidating. Before you take an exciting leap, read our recommendations to prepare. Also, if you have questions about studying abroad, we are here to help. International Student Blog Prepare yourself for an adventure overseas. Our blog contains everything from practical travel tips to inspiration for your next adventure. Start with these tips for international students heading into a new school year, then browse the rest of our articles. Intrepid 24/7 The phone number located on your insurance wallet card connects you to a team of coordinators that are ready to answer questions about the insurance you carry. If you are sick or injured and need to see a doctor, this team will arrange the care you need. They can help in every situation—any time of the day or night. This includes a…