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10 September, 2015 | Travel Medical Insurance

FACT: No one can ever “forget” that they had cancer.

Your travel insurance questionnaire might be full of these questions:

- Have you EVER had cancer?
- During the past FIVE years have you had cancer?
- During the past FIVE years have you been diagnosed or treated for cancer?
- Have you been diagnosed with an illness that has not been treated?
- During the past YEAR have you seen, or been referred to, a specialist?
- In the past SIX MONTHS have you taken any medication or had any treatment for any condition?

These simple questions are no doubt easy to answer.

Len Paulovich had just sent an email and he requested a comment on the Tripped Up television program, which became a hot topic among several people. The program aired for half an hour with the end goal of exposing the practices of insurance companies, particularly in the way they handle travel insurance policies. It was a crucial moment for Manulife Financial as they dealt with a medical claim that was declined.

Comments will be provided but just a disclaimer: yours truly is not privy to the said claim, so the foregoing assumptions may have some margin of error. Rest assured, comments will be revised accordingly.

It can be understood that the claimant supplied incorrect information to not more than three questions on the questionnaire (please see the list of questions above for reference). One of the questions is more or less the same as one of the questions above. There is just cause to deny the claim. No insurance company should accept a misrepresented risk. You will still pay the claim next year through increased premiums even if the insurer decides to pay the claim today.

It is also understandable why people choose not to disclose the right information when applying for travel insurance. Ticking one of the “Yes” boxes may get you a premium of between $700 and $2,500. A very important box may make or break your chances of qualifying. The cost of travel insurance is often the most expensive bill seniors have to pay this year. Hence, the reason why most of them are on a tight budget. They are well aware that it is not safe to travel without insurance but the high premium does not match their budget. Providing “wrong” answers is actually an attempt to save money.

Readers already know the outcome. A large claim would not go unnoticed and the insurance company would investigate it no matter what. Just focus on telling the truth and everything else will fall into their proper place. Telling the truth will not cost you anything and, more often than not, you will be just fine.

We can expect these individuals to be mad over their claim being denied. First, there will be an appeal, and at times the ombudsman makes an appearance, but their efforts will be all for naught when reviewers realize they lied their way to get their application approved. The lawyer enters the scene only to advise that there is no case to begin with. Some propaganda and media mileage may ensue afterwards (but these rarely happen in travel insurance). The aforementioned claim may have gone through a similar situation.

The way CARP representatives condemned Manulife and other insurance companies dealing with travel insurance was amusing. They were supposed to be experts on travel insurance but they seem to be unaware of the details and how the whole process works. CARP has their own travel insurance plan and, to everyone's surprise, their insurer is none other than Manulife! This is apparently a case of self-incrimination. The Canadian Snowbird Association should have been contacted for comments rather than CARP.

We may have mentioned this several times now. Manulife has various quality and recommendable travel insurance products. However, if you want the real deal, then it has got to be Medipac.

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