Canadian Millennials Most Likely to Travel Uninsured

Canadian Millennials Most Likely to Travel Uninsured

According to Allianz Global Assistance (Allianz), more than forty per cent (43.4%) of Canadian travellers who report not acquiring travel insurance every time they leave the country, were younger Canadians, aged 18 – 34.

The data, gathered for Allianz by The Conference Board of Canada, gives insights into the reasons why these millennial travellers chose to travel uninsured. For those surveyed who weren’t otherwise protected, 15.8 per cent felt travel insurance was unnecessary, while 15.3 per cent thought it was too expensive, and 14.9 per cent felt their trip was too short to warrant getting insurance.

“Seeing the results of these consumer insights paints a very clear picture about the need for better understanding among young Canadians regarding travel insurance,” said Dan Keon, Senior Director, Market Management, Allianz Global Assistance. “Factors such as the length of a trip don’t necessarily make anyone safer or less accident prone, or for that matter, lessen the resulting medical bills if something happens while on that trip.”

The statistic is unexpected when compared to internal claims data reviewed by Allianz which shows that from 2014 to 2016 people under the age of 30 made nearly 32 per cent of all claims submitted, the highest demographic bracket, while buying 21 per cent of all Allianz policies.

“Millennials and other young Canadians make up the majority of Destination Canada’s ‘Free Spirits’ category – travellers looking for adventure and more ‘authentic’ experiences. But the off-the-beaten-path travel experiences can also result in increased risks regardless of age,” added Keon. “When you boil it down, accident probability isn’t determined solely by age, time or the destination of your trip. Risk exists as a part of life and travel and everyone needs to be prepared to ensure they aren’t stuck with a much larger vacation bill than planned.”

About the Allianz Global Assistance Travel Insurance Consumer Insights by the Conference Board of Canada

Survey data was collected from 2,159 Canadians and weighted to the population by age, gender, and province of residence.  Of the Canadians surveyed, 78.8 per cent had travelled outside of Canada in the past five years (2013-2017).  Of these respondents, 81.5 per cent reported being covered by a travel insurance policy in addition to their provincial health care plan. While outbound trips by respondents were evenly split for the U.S. and destinations in other countries, Canadians heading overseas were somewhat more likely to have insurance coverage.

Allianz Global Assistance (Canada)

For more than 50 years, Allianz Global Assistance has supported travelling Canadians when they need it most with value-added travel insurance and assistance services. More than 800 employees support long-term partnerships with some of the best known brands in the travel and financial services markets. Allianz Global Assistance also serves as an outsource provider for in-bound call centre services and claims administration for health insurers, property and casualty insurers and credit card companies. Allianz Global Assistance is a specialist brand of Allianz Worldwide Partners for assistance and travel insurance, and is the registered business name for AZGA Service Canada Inc. and AZGA Insurance Agency Canada Ltd. For more information, visit www.allianz-assistance.ca.

Allianz Worldwide Partners

Dedicated to bringing worldwide protection and care, Allianz Worldwide Partners are the leader in assistance and insurance solutions in the following areas of expertise: assistance, international health & life, global automotive and travel insurance.  Known for embracing innovation and change, the Group offers a unique combination of insurance, service and technology. These solutions are available to business partners or via direct and digital channels under three trusted commercial brands: Allianz Global Assistance, Allianz Worldwide Care and Allianz Global Automotive.

This global family of over 17,500 employees is present in over 76 countries, speaks over 70 languages and handles 44 million cases per year, protecting customers and employees on all continents.

For more information, please visit www.allianz-worldwide-partners.com

SOURCE Allianz Global Assistance

Travel insurance and why you need it

Travel insurance and why you need it

If you plan to go abroad, even on a day trip to the United States, you should purchase the best travel insurance you can afford before you leave Canada. Your travel insurance should include health, life and disability coverage that will help you avoid large expenses, such as the cost of hospitalization or medical treatment outside Canada. If you are flying, being insured for flight cancellation, trip interruption, lost luggage and document replacement will save you from major disruptions and additional costs. If you are travelling by car, make sure you have driver and vehicle coverage in case you have an accident abroad.

TRAVELmedical.insurance

During a short vacation on a Caribbean island, a Canadian developed a severe form of pneumonia and had to be admitted to hospital. His health deteriorated, and he was transferred to intensive care and placed on a breathing machine for more than a month. Without insurance, he had to make arrangements with the hospital to pay a bill that amounted to more than $20,000.

You can purchase travel insurance through your travel agent, insurance broker or your employer’s insurance provider. Your credit card company may also offer travel and health insurance. Regardless of how you obtain travel insurance, it is very important that you understand the eligibility requirements, terms and conditions, limitations, restrictions and exclusions of the policy.

Why you need travel insurance

Your Canadian insurance is almost certainly not valid outside Canada. Your provincial or territorial health plan may cover nothing or only a very small portion of the costs if you get sick or are injured while abroad. For more information, contact your provincial or territorial health authority. Hospitals and clinics in some countries have been known to refuse to treat patients who become ill or who have had an accident and who do not have adequate travel health insurance or the money to pay their bills. You could face years of debt paying off the costs of treatment for an illness or accident you suffered abroad. The Government of Canada will not pay your medical bills.

Young travellers may think they don’t need insurance because they’re young and healthy. But accidents do happen. While walking along a beach on a Caribbean island, a Canadian tourist in her early 20s had an accident that seriously damaged her spine. Her family had to raise funds to pay for her medical evacuation.

Travel advisories and insurance policies

No matter where in the world you intend to travel, make sure you check the Travel Advice and Advisories twice, once when you are planning your trip and again shortly before you leave. If a Travel Advisory is issued for your destination, after you make your travel arrangements but before or during your trip, it may affect your travel health insurance or trigger your trip cancellation insurance. Make sure you understand any terms and conditions in the policy in regard to travel advice and advisories from the Government of Canada.

Some insurance companies will not honour medical claims made for injuries suffered in a country for which the Government of Canada has issued an official Travel Advisory. Coverage for injuries resulting from war may also be limited. Insurance policies often have exclusion clauses stipulating regions and/or activities that will not be covered.

Selecting travel health insurance

Carefully research your needs and verify the terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and requirements of your insurance policy before you leave Canada.

When assessing a travel health insurance plan, you should ask a lot of questions. Does the plan provide continuous coverage for the duration of your stay abroad and after you return? Does it offer coverage that is renewable from abroad and for the maximum period of stay? Does the company have an in-house, worldwide, 24-hour/7-day emergency contact number in English and/or translation services for health care providers in your destination country? Does it pay for foreign hospitalization for illness or injury and related medical costs and provide up-front payment of bills or cash advances, so you don’t have to pay out of your own pocket?

Be sure to ask whether the plan covers pre-existing medical conditions. Ask the company to explain the definition, limitations and restrictions of any pre-existing conditions and tests and treatments you may have undergone.

  • Make sure you get a written agreement that your pre-existing medical condition is covered, or you could find your claim “null and void” under a pre-existing condition clause.
  • Be aware that the agreement must also include a stability clause stating that for you to be covered for any pre-existing medical conditions you must have no changes to or new medical conditions, symptoms or medications during the stability period prior to your trip.
  • The agreement should include a compassion clause stating that an inaccurate statement may not invalidate the entire policy, and a change of health clause.

And ensure that the plan provides for medical evacuation to Canada or the nearest location with appropriate medical care and pays for a medical escort (health care provider) to accompany you to and from your destination.

Ensure that deductible costs are clearly explained in the plan. Plans with 100-percent coverage are more expensive but may save money in the long run. The plan could cover health care provider visits and prescription medicines, or emergency dental care or emergency transportation, such as ambulance services. Check whether it excludes or significantly limits coverage for certain regions or countries you may visit.

Finally, ensure that the plan covers the preparation and return of your remains to Canada if you die abroad.

Gabrielle had insurance that lapsed three weeks before she was involved in an accident. Her Canadian family had to raise $300,000 over a three-day period to cover the costs of medical treatment and evacuation. Fortunately, she survived, but her family is left with a hefty debt to repay.

Meeting the terms of your insurance policy

It is your responsibility to know and understand the terms of your insurance policy. Read the fine print carefully and ask for help, if necessary, to fully understand the eligibility requirements and definitions, terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions of the policy.

The information you provide must be accurate and complete. If you have any questions about the application and your medical history, including prescription drugs, tests and other treatments, contact the insurance company and ask them to clarify the issue in writing.

Obtain approval from your insurer before undergoing medical treatment. Routine health checkups, non-emergency care and cosmetic surgery are rarely covered by travel health insurance. Insurance companies may also exclude coverage for mental health disorders, drug- or alcohol-related incidents, or extreme sporting activities such as bungee jumping and rock climbing.

Get a detailed report and invoice from the doctor or hospital before leaving the country where you have received medical treatment. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get the proper paperwork from thousands of kilometres away. Always remember to submit the original receipts for medical services or prescriptions received abroad. Keep a copy of the documents for your files.

Carry details of your insurance policy and tell your travel agent, a travel companion, and a friend or relative at home how to contact your insurer.

Source: Government of Canada

Canada’s insurance regulators unveil travel insurance reforms

The Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR) is releasing its Travel Health Insurance Products Position Paper detailing its final recommendations to the issues it identified in travel health insurance. The recommendations are expected to enhance consumer protection and confidence in travel health insurance.

“We have heard the concerns of the public and insurance brokerage community and with this clear, nationally agreed way forward, we are reinforcing the pre-eminent goal of consumer confidence in their insurance protection when they travel,” said CCIR chair Patrick Déry.  “It is our belief that these measures will go a long way towards meeting consumer expectations wherever Canadians live in the country.”

While the CCIR believes Canada has a strong and competitive travel health insurance marketplace, it also believes there are opportunities for improvements to be made. The final recommendations outlined in the Position Paper include:

  • Development of common standardized definitions and terminology
  • Improvements to the application, screening and claims process
  • Simplifying and improving disclosure documents
  • Ensuring adequate controls and oversight mechanisms are in place throughout the product lifecycle
  • Improved training and information for sales forces

The CCIR is encouraged by the industry’s commitment to improve the consumer experience and will continue efforts to monitor the implementation of the recommendations to ensure they are adopted in a timely manner. CCIR members remain determined to see that the changes make a difference for all Canadians.

You can see the full document here: http://www.ccir-ccrra.org/en/

The CCIR includes representatives from every province and territory in Canada, and the consultation and implementation include the Canadian Insurance Services Regulatory Organizations (CISRO). Both the CCIR and CISRO recognize the insurance industry’s commitment to improving consumer confidence in the product.

About the CCIR:

The Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators is a national association of insurance regulators that traces its roots back to 1914. The mandate of the CCIR is to support an efficient and effective insurance regulatory system in Canada to serve the public interest.

About CISRO:

The Canadian Insurance Services Regulatory Organizations is a national association of insurance intermediary (agents, brokers, adjusters) regulating authorities. Its objectives include creating a common voice to deal with issues that may be of interest to other financial services regulators, consumers and intermediaries.

SOURCE Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR)

Three In Five Canadians Not Confident They Will Travel This Winter

According to the inaugural Allianz Global Assistance 2016 Canadian Winter Vacation Confidence survey, 58% of Canadians are not confident they will be taking a winter vacation1 this year.

allianz-assistance

The survey, conducted by Ipsos, also revealed that among the 42% of Canadians who are confident they will be taking a vacation this winter, the average anticipated spend per household will remain fairly flat (58%) or higher than the previous year’s winter vacation (16%).

“It is an unfortunate reality that more than half of Canadians have a low level of confidence that they will be taking vacation this winter,” said Dan Keon, Director, Marketing and Communications, Allianz Global Assistance. “One concern for Canadians considering travel in winter could be the costs of cancellation, especially when you look at the average cost Canadians say they will spend on a winter vacation: $2,593.20 per household.”

“This is a significant budget for families which can be easily threatened by unexpected circumstances such as inclement weather,” continued Keon. “In those cases, unprotected cancellations could place the entire vacation budget at risk. Travel insurance can typically recover up to 100% of eligible prepaid travel-related expenses lost due to covered reasons for cancellations, such as an unforeseen illness or government advisory restricting travel to your planned destination.”

A popular travel choice for many Canadians is to travel south to the United States. However the survey, conducted in early November, revealed that the current value of the Canadian dollar against the U.S. dollar could prevent Canadians (56%) from travelling to the United States. With that in mind, the survey even showed that in the most extreme cases, a portion of Canadians have actually already changed their travel plans to bypass the United States in the short term. “While the U.S. remains the top outbound destination for Canadians, the current value of the Canadian dollar against the U.S. dollar is clearly coming into play for potential vacationers,” added Keon.

“As Canadians, we highly value and look forward to our vacation plans as an opportunity to spend time with loved ones and unwind from our day-to-day stresses,” continued Keon. “The survey allowed us to quantify the existing ‘Vacation Confidence Deficit,’ but also showed that 36% of Canadians haven’t had a vacation for more than two years. Clearly many Canadians all across the country are in need of a well-deserved break.”

Looking ahead, the picture brightens as a larger majority of Canadians (68%) do expect to take a vacation within the next 12 months. However, the survey does note a persistent lack of confidence: of the 70% of Canadians who identified that an annual vacation is important to them, only 83% are confident they will be travelling in the next 12 months – creating a Vacation Confidence Deficit of 17%.

Additional Survey Results

  • Men (47%) are more confident than women (37%) that they will take a winter vacation.
  • While men (69%) and women (70%) find annual vacations almost equally important, men (40%) are more likely than women (31%) to take an annual winter vacation.
  • Canadian households with kids (49%) are more confident than those without kids (40%) that they will take a winter vacation.
  • Nearly half of Canadians took their most recent vacation within the past 12 months, while one in three Canadians have not been on vacation in more than two years.
  • Canadian households with an income above $100,000 are the most likely (59%) to take an annual winter vacation, with percentages steadily increasing as disposable income increases: Less than $40,000 (24%), $40,000-59,999 (34%) and $60,000-99,999 (46%).
  • Households with children expect to spend just over the national average on their vacation’s travel, accommodation and entertainment costs: $2,759.00.
  • At $3,394.50, Canadians aged 55+ anticipate spending much more than the national average per household on their vacation.
  • When compared to the United States, Europe, Great Britain and Mexico, China is the destination that across the board all demographics are the least likely to visit regardless of how the Canadian dollar compares to the local currency.
  • When looking at vacation plans in the past 12 months, Canadians aged 55+ (68%) allow the value of the Canadian dollar to influence their travel plans the least.

Regional Highlights

British Columbia

  • Least likely (37%) to take a winter vacation this year.
  • Expect to spend more than the national average per household on vacation: $3,342.70.
  • For 53% of BC residents, this is about the same amount as they spent on last year’s vacation.
  • The value of the Canadian dollar is more likely to deter travel to Europe (22%) than the United States (18%).

Alberta

  • Most likely (41%) to take an annual winter vacation just ahead of Quebec (40%).
  • Expect to spend more than the national average per household: $3,214.90.
  • Least likely to have gone more than two years (28%) without a vacation.
  • Consider taking an annual vacation important the most (75%) compared to other provinces.
  • Along with Quebec, the most confident they will take a vacation in the next 12 months (71%).

Prairies

  • Along with British Columbia, the most likely to spend more than last year (21%) on this year’s winter vacation.
  • Expect to spend more than the national average per household: $3,359.30.
  • Most likely to not consider annual vacations important (37%) compared to other provinces.
  • Least confident they will take a vacation in the next 12 months (63%).
  • Most likely (26%) to say that comparing the Canadian dollar’s value with the Euro would prevent travel.

Ontario

  • Expect to spend more than the national average per household: $2,617.90.
  • The second least likely (37%) just behind British Columbia (38%) to not have the current value of the Canadian dollar affect possible travel to the United States.
  • Also the second least likely (66%) behind British Columbia (69%) to not allow the current value of the Canadian dollar to affect travel plans over the past 12 months.
  • The most likely (11%) along with Alberta to change planned travel dates due to the value of the Canadian dollar.

Quebec

  • Anticipate spending the least on their winter vacation per household: $1,861.40.
  • The most confident (46%) that they will take a winter vacation this year just ahead of Alberta and the Atlantic (45%).
  • Second most likely (40%) behind Alberta (41%) to take an annual winter vacation.
  • The value of the Canadian dollar is more likely to deter travel to Europe (20%) than the United States (18%).
  • The highest percentage (41%) that have not taken a vacation in more than two years.

Atlantic Canada

  • Least likely (26%) to take an annual winter vacation.
  • The least likely (9%) to spend more than last year on this year’s winter vacation.
  • Expect to spend near the national average per household: $2,291.90.
  • The second highest vacation cancellation rate in the past 12 months (19%) due to the value of the Canadian dollar.

About the Allianz Global Assistance 2016 Canadian Winter Vacation Confidence Survey

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between November 1st and November 3rd, 2016, on behalf of Allianz Global Assistance. For this survey, a sample of 2,000 Canadians from Ipsos’ online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

Allianz Global Assistance (Canada)

For more than 50 years, Allianz Global Assistance has supported travelling Canadians when they need it most with value-added travel insurance and assistance services. More than 700 employees support long-term partnerships with some of the best known brands in the travel and financial services markets. The company also serves as an outsource provider for in-bound call centre services and claims administration for health insurers, property and casualty insurers and credit card companies. Allianz Global Assistance is a specialist brand of Allianz Worldwide Partners for assistance and travel insurance, and is the registered business name for AZGA Service Canada Inc. and AZGA Insurance Agency Canada Ltd. For more information, visit www.allianz-assistance.ca.

Allianz Worldwide Partners

Dedicated to bringing worldwide protection and care, Allianz Worldwide Partners is the B2B2C leader in assistance and insurance solutions in the following areas of expertise: global assistance, international health & life, global automotive and travel insurance. These solutions, which are a unique combination of insurance, service and technology, are available to business partners or via direct and digital channels under three internationally renowned brands: Allianz Global Assistance, Allianz Worldwide Care and Allianz Global Automotive. This global family of over 16,000 employees is present in 75 countries, speaks 70 languages and handles 40 million cases per year*, protecting customers and employees on all continents. For more information, please visit https://www.allianz.com/en/products_solutions/service-assistance/allianz-worldwide-partners/

*for 2015, excluding Global Automotive

_____________________
1 A vacation is defined as a leisure trip of at least one week outside of your home province between and including December and March

SOURCE Allianz Global Assistance

Zika, global instability causing Canadians to rethink travel plans, buy more insurance

Zika, global instability causing Canadians to rethink travel plans, buy more insurance

Health concerns and global instability are causing Canadians to rethink their travel plans, according to a new survey.

According to the survey released by the Travel Health Insurance Association (THIA), 13% or respondents had altered their travel plans due to civil unrest or violence and 14% had changed plans due to Zika concerns. The survey also noted these reasons are also leading Canadians to buy more travel health insurance.

According to a Conference Board of Canada study, 78% of Canadians bought travel health insurance in 2015, up from 74% in 2014.

Alex Bittner, the former president of the Travel Health Insurance Association said in an email to Postmedia Network that despite the hike, misconceptions still exist when it comes to health insurance coverage.

“A common misconception is that our government will contribute a lot for us if we have an emergency outside of the country,” said Bittner. “This is wrong; our provincial healthcare plans contribute only roughly 6% of the bill. Another misconception is that travel insurance does not cover pre-existing medical conditions. This is also wrong. As long as the traveller is stable (as per policy definitions) then they will be covered even if they have an emergency for an illness that existed before they travelled.”

The survey also highlighted concerns for pregnant travellers. It’s interesting to point out that 90% of respondents to the survey didn’t know that travelling in the last nine-weeks of pregnancy does not cover the person insured and that a pre-term infant is also not covered, only the mother would be, according to THIA.

THIA president Will McAleer says “everyone deserves a carefree vacation” which is why the study’s findings are especially significant in today’s changing global climate.

“Canadians need to know their policies, know their health and know their trip before departing,” said McAleer. “An increase in cancelled trips highlights the importance of understanding one’s policy.”

The THIA has tips and recommendations about travel health insurance and concerns on its website, at thiaonline.com.

Going south? Here’s how to stretch your dollars

By: Building Wealth | The Star

It’s autumn. The leaves are starting to turn, days are getting shorter, and there’s a chill in the night air. It’s time to start thinking about a winter vacation.

For most Canadians, Florida is the preferred destination. Visit Florida estimates that a record 3.8 million of us spent time in the state last year, up 2.4 per cent from 2013. Most would probably like to head back once the cold sets in here.

There’s just one small problem – a trip to the Sunbelt will cost a lot more this year, thanks to our insipid loonie. Last winter, the U.S. dollar premium was 16 to 17 per cent. This year you’ll pay a surcharge of 32 to 33 per cent when you buy U.S. currency.

Don’t expect that to change any time soon. RBC economists believe the cost of buying a U.S. dollar will remain in a range of between $1.30 and $1.34 until at least the end of 2016. That’s worse than the 35-year average, which is $1.26.

So what should you do if you become desperate for some Florida sun? I asked Alain Forget, Head of Sales and Business Development for RBC Bank USA and a 15-year resident of the Sunshine State.

Here’s what he suggests:

Prepare a budget: Do your costing in advance, figuring in the U.S. dollar premium. In doing so, keep in mind that even with the loonie so low, some expenses in Florida will still be cheaper than in Canada, including gas, groceries, most alcohol, and sales tax.

Get the best rate: Many people believe the rate is the same no matter how much money you convert. It’s not. The more money you exchange, the lower the rate you’ll pay. So changing small amounts on several occasions will cost more than doing it all at once, assuming the loonie stays reasonably stable in its current range. Ask for the current rates for various amounts when you’re in the bank.

Don’t use a Canadian dollar credit card: Forget says that the exchange rate applied to U.S. dollar credit card purchases will be higher than you’d pay at a bank. Plus most cards add on a 2.5 per cent foreign transaction fee (the Chase Marriott Rewards Visa Card is one of the few exceptions). Get a U.S. dollar card and use that. Most Canadian banks offer them.

Set up a cross-border bank account. If you’re only going for a week, don’t worry about this. But if you’re planning to stay south until the snow melts, you’ll need to be able to access cash easily. Ask your bank what they can arrange before you leave. I know of situations where it has taken several days to move money from Canada to the U.S.

RBC offers a Direct Checking service that allows you to move up to $25,000 a day in real time on line (or up to $100,000 by phone) from your account in Canada to an account with RBC Bank USA. The cost is $3.95 a month and it includes a U.S. credit card, debit card, and cheques.

Here’s one more thing to consider if you are planning a lengthy stay. Peak season rents are sky high but property values are very reasonable. Florida real estate has rebounded since the crash of 2008 but it is still much cheaper than you’d pay for similar accommodation in Toronto. The average price of a condo in Palm Beach County in August was U.S. $212,000.

“It’s still affordable to buy in Florida, even with the Canadian dollar at its weakest in eleven years,” says Mr. Forget. “If you think you missed the boat for buying in Florida, you’re wrong.”

Gordon Pape is editor and publisher of the Internet Wealth Builder and Income Investor newsletters. His website is www.BuildingWealth.ca

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