Canada Day Weekend – Travel Tips for facilitating your border crossing

Canada Day Weekend – Travel Tips for facilitating your border crossing

OTTAWAJune 28, 2018 /CNW/ – The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) advises travellers that it anticipates higher volumes at its ports of entry over the Canada Day Weekend. The CBSA shares the following tips to facilitate your border crossing:

For returning residents:

Introducing a new surtax on U.S. goods – starting July 1, 2018, certain goods originating from the U.S. are subject to a surtax on the value for duty in accordance with the United States Surtax Order (Other Goods) and the United States Surtax Order (Steel and Aluminum). Please note that the surtax will not apply to U.S. goods that are in transit to Canadaprior to July 1, 2018. The surtax will be applied on goods subject to the surtax if a traveller exceeds their personal exemption. A list of goods subject to the surtax is available on the Department of Finance’s website.

The Monday of holiday long weekends tends to be busiest; plan around it.

Know your purchases and keep travel documents handy – Know your personal exemptions and restrictions and make sure that each passenger has the correct travel document. Have your travel documents and receipts in hand when you arrive at the border. It is recommended you travel with a passport as it is the only universally recognized travel document.

Declare all purchases, acquisitions, and/or gifts received when returning to Canada – refer to the I Declare brochure on the CBSA website for more information. If you are bringing gifts, it is recommended they not be wrapped as we may need to examine them more in-depth.

For travellers and residents:

Plan your border crossing – Check border wait times using the CanBorder App and cross at the least busy port of entry in the area. Historically, holidays result in higher than normal volumes; plan your entry during non-peak hours such as early morning. The Monday of holiday long weekends tends to be busiest, plan around it.

Know the contents of your vehicle – Travellers can consult the CBSA’s website for information on firearms and other restricted and prohibited goods. Declare all your goods.

Become a NEXUS member – NEXUS is designed to expedite the border clearance process for low-risk, pre-approved travellers into Canada and the United States. NEXUS members receive expedited border clearance in the land, air, and marine modes, and a NEXUS membership is valid for five years.  Additionally, you may take advantage of NEXUS expedited benefits when going through Canadian Air Transport Security Authority at key airports across Canada.

Use a Primary Inspection Kiosk – If you arrive at one of Canada’s busiest international airports, you can now verify your identity and make an on screen declaration using a primary inspection kiosk. Most travellers arriving in Canada by air, including returning residents and foreign nationals may use the kiosk. Download our eDeclaration mobile app to save even more time when you arrive by air in Canada.

Do not travel with cannabis (marijuana) – Cannabis is not yet legal in Canada. And even when it is, it will remain illegal to take it across the border.

Not sure? Ask the CBSA officer – The single best thing you can do to save time returning to Canada is to simply be open and honest with the CBSA officer. If you are not sure about what to declare, don’t hesitate to ask. The officers are there to help you.

For more information, visit the CBSA website or contact the Border Information Service.

Follow us on Twitter (@CanBorder) and Instagram (canborder), join us on Facebook or visit our YouTube channel.

SOURCE Canada Border Services Agency

Canadians Positive on Travel Medical Insurance

NEWS PROVIDED BY

CAFII

The experience of Canadians who have purchased travel medical insurance is very positive, with more than 8 in 10 satisfied with the product and the value it provides. Furthermore, 98% of people who made travel medical insurance claims in the past year said they were fully or partially paid, with only 2% of claims being rejected. In addition, 91% of claimants said they were satisfied with their claim experience from initial contact to final outcome.

These are the key findings of new public opinion research by Pollara Strategic Insights. These and other findings about travel medical insurance are consistent with results from similar research undertaken by Pollara in 2015.

According to the research, confidence among Canadians who have purchased travel medical insurance in the past year is high, with 87% confident they would receive the quality of service they expected. In addition, 90% were confident they would receive the assistance they needed, and 86% expected reimbursement to cover the cost of the travel medical emergency as per their policy. These results were even higher for those who had made a claim.

Canadians also said they have a reasonable understanding of the travel medical insurance coverage terms and limitations, amount of coverage, and who to contact in the event of an emergency.  For example, at the time of purchasing their travel medical insurance policy, buyers said they were confident they knew the policy terms with 89% saying their knowledge was at least reasonable. Furthermore, 89% of buyers also said they had at least some knowledge of the limitations and exclusions of their policy at the time of purchase.

Fully 85% of claimants found the actual claim submission experience to be in line with what was explained to them during the initial contact, and 89% of claimants thought the claim submission experience was positive and either met (75%) or exceeded (14%) their expectations. However, despite the high levels of overall satisfaction, 31% of claimants (down from 38% in 2015) had a complaint about the claim experience, mostly about the length of time it took to process a claim, and lack of clarity about what was required.

When it comes to choosing their travel medical insurance, Canadians said the top six factors influencing their decisions were:

  • features and benefits (87% vs 86% in 2015);
  • overall amount of coverage (85% – not asked in 2015);
  • ability to speak to someone (83% vs 81% in 2015);
  • price (81% vs 76% in 2015);
  • ease of purchase (77% vs 70% in 2015); and,
  • coverage for pre-existing conditions (71% vs 66% in 2015).

The increase in the last three factors from 2015 is notable, which suggests consumer expectations for travel medical insurance are increasing, and that providers need to keep improving their product and service to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.

“Canadian consumers have expressed a great deal of confidence in the travel medical insurance industry, and the products that our members provide,” said Keith Martin, Co-Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Financial Institutions in Insurance (CAFII), which sponsored the Pollara research. “On the other hand, consumers continue to raise the bar on what they expect from their policies in terms of product features, quality service and value, and rightly so.”

These are the key results from an online survey of 1,200 adult Canadians conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights between February 16th and March 5th, 2018. A random sample of this size would yield a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8%, 19 times out of 20.

About CAFII:
The Canadian Association of Financial Institutions in Insurance is a not-for-profit Association dedicated to the development of an open and flexible insurance marketplace. CAFII believes consumers are best served when they have meaningful choice in the purchase of insurance products and services. CAFII’s members include the insurance arms of Canada’s major financial institutions – BMO Insurance; CIBC Insurance; Desjardins Financial Security; RBC Insurance; ScotiaLife Financial; and TD Insurance – along with major industry players American Express Bank Canada; Assurant; Canada Life Assurance; Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company; CUMIS Services Incorporated; and Manulife (The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company).

About Pollara Strategic Insights:
Founded in 1980, Pollara Strategic Insights is one of Canada’s premier full-service research firms – a collaborative team of senior research veterans who are passionate about conducting research through hands–on creativity and customized solutions. Taking full advantage of their comprehensive toolbox of industry-leading quantitative and qualitative methodologies and analytical techniques, Pollara provides research-based strategic advice to a wide array of clients across all sectors on a local, national, and global scale.

SOURCE CAFII

Travelers Canada Offers Services Beyond Insurance for Small Businesses

TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Travelers Canada, the Canadian division of The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV), today announced a new suite of services extending beyond insurance for small business customers. Human resources and legal assistance will now be offered, at no extra cost, to help small business owners manage day-to-day activities fundamental to their growth and success.

“Small business owners play a vital role in the economy, however, they typically have limited resources to manage the different challenges that come at them each day,” said Erica Glendinning, Vice President of Business Insurance at Travelers Canada. “We are excited to enhance our offering with these services and give small business owners the support they need to stay focused on growing their businesses.”

Travelers Canada will now offer the following new services and solutions:

~Business Legal Telephone Assistance – In-house attorney support on issues such as rental agreements, contracts, real estate and consumer law.
~Designated Human Resources Assistance – Professional support for human resources issues, including hiring, absences/leaves, safety, discrimination, immigration, labour matters, benefits and temporary employees.
~Emotional Support Assistance – Professional counsellors to provide confidential emotional support for issues related to home, work, trauma, grief and other personal or business hardships.

These services will be provided to Travelers Canada small business customers through Assistenza, a company that has delivered assistance services for the personal and commercial insurance industry for more than 25 years. Services will be available in English and French, as well as other languages upon request.

For more information about these services and insuring a small business, please visit travelerscanada.ca.

About Travelers Canada
Travelers Insurance Company of Canada, the Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company and St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company are the Canadian licensed insurers known as Travelers Canada. Travelers Canada is the Canadian division of the Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV), a leading provider of property casualty insurance for autohome and business. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Travelers has approximately 30,000 employees and generated revenues of approximately US$29 billion in 2017. For more information about Travelers Canada, visit travelerscanada.ca.

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3 Reasons it Could be Another Record-Breaking Year for Visitors to Canada

3 Reasons it Could be Another Record-Breaking Year for Visitors to Canada

Excerpted article by FEATURES & ADVICE ALLIANZ GLOBAL ASSISTANCE

Canada was the place to visit in 2017, and it seems travellers agreed. Visitors to Canada celebrated alongside us during our nation’s 150th birthday as well as Montreal’s 375th — undoubtedly attracted to this country thanks to being named Best Travel Destination (Lonely Planet) and Destination of the Year (Travel + Leisure magazine). According to Statistics Canada, we welcomed a record 20.8 million tourists from around the world, the most ever in our history.

And 2018 is shaping up to be just as strong, if not stronger. The first quarter of the year, has already seen 3,096,059 visitors welcomed to our shores, an increase of almost 6.4% from the same period last year, with momentum cresting convincingly toward the peak July/August months.

“There are three reasons to believe that 2018 is poised to surpass last year’s success” explains Dan Keon, VP Market Management at Allianz Global Assistance. “One has to do with China, and others are as a result of shifts in industry or regulatory environment that are now fuelling emerging markets.

1. 2018 is the Canada-China Year of Tourism

Designated so by the Government of Canada – with the intent of doubling the number of Chinese tourists by 2021 – there is concerted effort being placed in cultivating a stronger preference for coming to Canada. In addition, China-Canada family ties are already particularly deep, with 1.7 million Canadians with Chinese ancestry, and almost 50% of Chinese travellers coming to visit friends and relatives in Canada.

2. Travel visa restrictions to Canada removed or loosened

Visitors from Mexico and Brazil have less cross-border paperwork to worry about, as travel visas are no longer a requirement, making Canada that much more accessible. Similarly, travellers from India are now enjoying improved access to Canadian travel visas. Their growing middle class is in the midst of experiencing a surge in interest for travelling abroad.

Allianz
Countries of Origin

3. More flights to Canada

Excluding American travellers, who are also apt to visit by car or RV, the majority of visitors to Canada fly in through our airports. Indeed, an increasing number of airlines are either adding more routes, or offering direct flights to Canada. This is particularly true for visitors from South Korea, which is an emerging market opportunity.

Keon suggests factoring these trends into plans to capture a share of the visitor to Canada market. “While these various influences make it easier and more attractive for travellers to visit Canada, their excitement should not get in the way of having travel insurance to protect them before their trip begins.”

Visitors to Canada travel insurance administered by Allianz Global Assistance for example, provides emergency medical coverage ranging from $25,000 to $100,000, with varying benefits, depending on the length of stay in Canada.

Sometimes, however, visitors to Canada can have varying levels of experience with travel insurance and the valuable emergency health and medical benefits that travel insurance may provide.

When working with this particular group, and their family members living here in Canada, Keon suggests travel advisors can assess this knowledge gap, first by listening for the following statements such as “Why do I need it?” Statements like this provides a great opening for an advisor to share various sudden and unforeseen scenarios when travel insurance may come in handy, such as an unexpected visit to the doctor, cost of new prescriptions as a result of an emergency health issue, or for emergency dental care.

With Canada poised to receive another 17 million+ visitors throughout the remainder of 2018, travel agents are ideally positioned to present travel insurance to visitors from China, India, Mexico, Brazil and South Korea – along with introducing those same visitors to the very best that Canada has to offer.

 

This course is included as part of your ILS General CE and/or Adjuster CE Course Subscription

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Fly now, pay later: Are travel loans a good deal?

By Amrita Jayakumar

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Dreaming of a spring getaway with white-sand beaches and a cool drink in your hand?

A search for airline tickets can bring your dream down to earth, if the steep fares charged by many airlines outstrip your savings.

What if you could book your trip today and pay for it later without maxing out your credit cards?

Major airlines including American Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines integrate buy-now-pay-later concepts into their online booking. Working with technology startups that provide the financing, they offer loans to travellers who would rather pay a fixed amount over time than dip into savings or use high-interest credit cards.

Financing a trip may be a reasonable option in a few situations for trips that are important and have inflexible dates, for example, or for emergency travel. But if you don’t know how you’ll pay, borrowing isn’t a good idea, experts say.

LOAN OR LAYAWAY

“We are trying to help people take the trips of a lifetime,” says Brian Barth, founder and CEO of UpLift, a Silicon Valley startup that gives travel loans through four major airlines’ websites.

Travel lenders say they appeal to people with average credit scores who may not qualify for travel reward cards that require excellent credit. The loans also can make sense for people who are building credit and prefer the discipline of fixed payments over credit cards’ revolving payments.

It’s not just airlines offering financing for travellers. Travel deal sites such as CheapAir.com, Expedia and Groupon Getaways offer loans through Affirm, a San Francisco-based online lender. Airfordable and FlightLayaway.com offer layaway-style plans, in which you pay off your ticket in online installments before you fly. Other sites like STA Travel market financing to college students.

Some experts advise against going into debt for travel at all, whether you use travel loans or credit cards. “Taking out debt (to travel) is risky and can be harder to pay off in the long run,” says Brett Snyder, president and founder of airline industry blog Cranky Flier.

THE COST OF CONVENIENCE

Even when a travel loan might make sense, know how you’ll pay it back, such as by carving money out of your budget or using a tax refund, Snyder says.

Before you choose a loan, understand all the costs, says Graciela Aponte-Diaz, director of California policy for the Center for Responsible Lending, a non-profit advocacy group.

The typical UpLift customer borrows $500 to $2,500, says Barth, and the company charges annual percentage rates from 8.99 per cent to 36 per cent, based on your credit profile. If you borrow $1,500, for example, and pay it back over 12 months at 17 per cent _ UpLift’s average rate for borrowers _ you’ll pay $137 per month and a total of $1,642.

Affirm charges 10 per cent to 30 per cent APR, and travellers borrow $1,400 on average, says spokesperson Elizabeth Allin. Airfordable charges a one-time service fee equal to about 13 per cent of the ticket cost, according to a calculator on the website.

Lenders may also charge cancellation and modification fees if your plans change, or try to sell you travel insurance.

THE CREDIT EFFECT

Both UpLift and Affirm say they perform soft credit checks _ essentially a background check of your credit report, which won’t hurt your score. If you are approved, the loan and your payment history will show up on your credit report. Paying on time can build your credit score; not paying will hurt it, and you may be charged late fees.

UpLift considers borrowers with average to low credit scores and looks at data beyond credit scores, such as the person’s travel history with an airline, says Barth. The lender has approved people with scores as low as 475, he says.

Affirm which targets those who are new to credit  says it may ask applicants for permission to scan checking account transactions to gauge financial behaviour. More than 70 per cent of Affirm travellers have credit scores between 620 and 729, says Allin.

ALTERNATIVES TO TRAVEL LOANS

Saving is the cheapest way to fund your dream getaway.

In some cases, charging the trip to your credit card and paying more than the minimum monthly payment may be cheaper than a travel loan with interest, as long as you pay it off within a fixed time frame, says Aponte-Diaz.

Still dreaming of that beach? Find an affordable version of it, says Snyder.

“You don’t have to go to Bali. Go to Florida without putting yourself into debt,” he says.

This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Amrita Jayakumar is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: ajayakumar?nerdwallet.com. Twitter: ?ajbombay.

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