Manulife unveils COVID-19-related travel insurance in face of travel advisories

TORONTO — Manulife Financial Corp. is offering COVID-19-related travel insurance for Canadians who take international and domestic trips.

The policy, slated to roll out in October, will provide emergency medical coverage that includes the coronavirus and related conditions.

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It will also provide some coverage linked to trip interruptions or cancellations in the event of quarantine, Manulife said in a release Wednesday.

The new "pandemic travel plan" includes places subject to a Level 3 travel advisory, which warns against non-essential travel and which Canada has issued for all countries.

The nation's largest insurer follows smaller companies in offering medical travel insurance that covers COVID-19, including the Canadian Association of Blue Cross in Ontario and Quebec. Trip interruptions are not covered under Blue Cross plans.

The Manulife plan includes emergency medical coverage up to $200,000 for COVID-19 and related conditions after a positive test result as well as emergency air transport to return home.

It also covers emergency medical expenses up to $5 million for non-coronavirus health issues and covers daily quarantine-related costs of $150 per person or $300 per family for up to two weeks.

Basic travel insurance policies generally don't cover pandemics or fears of getting sick, with viral exclusions comprising a part of various insurance plans since the SARS epidemic.

Plans often have a very specific list of covered reasons for cancellation, such as losing a job or a terrorist attack.

"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 specialized travel insurance is aimed at helping protect what matters most," Alex Lucas, head of insurance at Manulife, said in a statement.

— with files from The Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2020

Companies in this story: (TSX:MFC)

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