Zurich Canada narrows the travel insurance protection gap

January 23, 2019

Zurich enters the Canadian personal travel insurance market leveraging a global network.

In the past, Canadians crossing the border for golden sun and turquoise waters often landed in a gray area for travel insurance.

If an ankle — or another aspect of their health — took a debilitating turn during their trip, they might find their medical claim denied if they bought a travel protection policy from an entity not licenced to insure Canadians.

That coverage gap can be a harsh realization as Canadians increasingly travel abroad. A denied claim not only hits the traveller’s bank account, but also can sour them on the airline, resort or other travel supplier who offered them a travel protection plan that was invalid, perhaps unbeknownst to both parties.

Invalid or overstated travel insurance coverages have resulted in litigation and greater scrutiny of the travel insurance industry in North America. One lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in 2017 alleged that residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico were sold travel insurance from other companies not licenced to conduct business in those territories. As a result, the plaintiffs contended they paid for coverage the providers would not have to deliver in the event of a claim.

Starting this month, Zurich Canada is introducing travel protection solutions to help close the coverage gap and provide compliant and reputable travel protection for:

  1. Travel suppliers in Canada who want to offer coverage to both Canadian and non-Canadian travellers.
  2. Travel suppliers outside Canada who want to offer coverage to Canadian travellers.

Zurich Canada’s new personal travel protection policy will be offered through brokers to travel suppliers such as airlines, hotel chains, online travel agents and cruise lines, in both Canada and the United States. Those suppliers can then offer the coverage options to Canadian travelers at point of booking.

“This is a big value-add for our brokers, customers and Canadians who travel abroad,” said John Thain, Vice President for Travel, Accident & Sickness for Zurich Canada. “Canadians’ health insurance doesn’t follow them across the border, so they need travel protection plans with medical coverage they can count on. Brokers can help guide their clients in the travel space to provide the protection they intend to provide: convenient, customized and compliant.”

Zurich in the U.S. is launching a similar travel protection policy for U.S. leisure travellers, an expansion from its business travel accident solutions. Offered separately or alongside each other, the two countries’ coverages have the potential to greatly simplify procurement and administration of travel protection solutions both for brokers and travel suppliers.

“The solutions also can help quickly answer regulators’ questions, potentially preventing unnecessary and costly investigations as well as potential fines, penalties or tax liabilities,” Thain said.

Both Zurich Canada and Zurich in the U.S. are part of Zurich Insurance Group, a Switzerland-based global insurance provider. Zurich Insurance Group is a top-three provider of travel insurance in the world1with subsidiaries licenced to provide travel protection in multiple geographies.

“Our complementary Canada and U.S. travel solutions are just one way in which we are putting our global footprint to work for the businesses, brokers and customers we collectively serve,” Thain said.

Both Canada and the U.S. will provide 24/7 travel assistance services under the Zurich Travel Assist brand, administered by the Toronto-based Zurich subsidiary World Travel Protection. World Travel Protection has been operating for over 25 years and provides medical, travel and security assistance services, complete with a mobile app, to over 3.8 million travellers.

Zurich Insurance Group’s commitment to the travel space has grown along with the rise in international travel. In 2017, Zurich acquired Cover-More Group Limited, a specialist global travel insurance and medical assistance provider based in Australia. Other Zurich travel subsidiaries include U.S.-based Travelex, and Latin American brands Travel Ace and Universal Assistance.

Learn more about Zurich Canada travel solutions.

1 Finnacord for Zurich Insurance Group. Travel Insurance and Assistance Global Market Share Estimates, 2017.