COVID in 2021: The Travel Insurance Market
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The travel industry experienced catastrophic losses of revenue in 2020 for obvious reasons, and the travel insurance industry is no different. Insurers have been struggling to find new ways for the new normal, hoping this normal will not last.
Among other insurers, Allianz Global Assistance Canada and TuGo: Travel Insurance Canada have launched new travel insurance products to help Canadian travellers protect themselves financially against certain losses resulting from an insured's testing positive for COVID-19 while travelling outside their home jurisdiction.
Allianz's "COVID-19 Insurance and Assistance Plan" and TuGo's "COVID-19 Insurance" are similarly designed products that offer insureds financial coverage for expenses related to COVID-19 once the policy term is in effect, the insured is travelling outside their home jurisdiction, and they have been tested positive for the coronavirus.
The types of coverages provided by these policies include:
- Emergency Hospitalization/Treatment
- Death/Repatriation Benefits
- Transportation to Hospital
- Return of Dependents/Travel Companion
- Quarantine Expenses (Meals, Temporary Accommodations, etc.)
- Denied Boarding
It is important to note that these COVID-19 travel insurance policies do not insure losses, damages, or injuries which are normally insured by another type of travel insurance policy. This means that travellers looking for financial protection for both COVID-19 related expenses and non-coronavirus related losses will need to purchase both policy types. Additionally, the purchase of an underlying travel insurance policy may be required by some insurers in order to purchase their COVID-19 travel insurance policy.
Coverage restrictions appear similar to those in conventional travel insurance policies with several additional exclusions (i.e.: testing positive or showing symptoms before your date of departure, for instance). There appears to also be consensus that if the destination to which your are travelling has an active Level 4 health advisory, your COVID-19 insurance plan may not respond.
If you are planning some long-awaited post-pandemic travel, now is the time to shop around for the best insurance coverages and the best quotes, as travel insurers begin to roll out these new products and compete for market share.
As of November 1, 2021, Allianz Global Assistance's standard travel insurance plans will cover most COVID-related risks. We are waiting to hear from competing travel insurance providers to know whether COVID-19 risks will be included in their standard travel packages. COVID plans may still be necessary to provide coverage for denied boarding and if you purchase your travel policies on an annual multi-trip basis.
As of December 15, 2021, the Government of Canada has issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory for any non-essential international travel outside of Canada. This means that on travel insurance policies with effective dates prior to December 15, 2021, the coverages will be honoured in most cases. However, for travel insurance policies with effective dates on or after December 15, 2021, and as long as the Level 3 Travel Advisory is in effect, the policies will not respond to any claims relating to COVID-19. Likewise, travellers who depart for their trips after the Level 3 Travel Advisory was issued will not be able to purchase COVID-19 insurance plans. Allianz Global Assistance is recommending that those who will be travelling and who have not yet departed purhcase a separate COVID-19 Insurance & Assistance Plan, which they have enhanced the coverage on (i.e.: increasing Emergency Treatment limits from $1 million to $5 million) and now includes coverages for cruise ship itinerary destinations. Please speak with your broker or travel advisor to learn more if you plan on travelling under the Level 3 Travel Advisory or have already departed for your trip.
Please visit the following Government of Canada webpage to learn more about the current Level 3 Travel Advisory: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories
For more information on Allianz Global Assistance Canada's new COVID-19 product, visit: https://www.allianz-assistance.ca/en_CA/press-and-media/allianz-global-assistance-launches-the-covid-19-insurance-and-assistance-plan.html
For more information on TuGo: Travel Insurance Canada's new COVID-19 product, visit: https://www.tugo.com/en/travel-insurance/faq/