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Manulife to begin offering COVID-19 related travel insurance product

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian insurer Manulife Financial Corp MFC.TO will restore some coverage for coronavirus-related trip interruptions in a new travel insurance policy that also includes COVID-19 in its emergency medical coverage.

The policy will launch in October for Canadians traveling domestically and internationally, including to countries subject to a level 3 travel advisory, Canada’s biggest life and travel insurance company said on Wednesday.

Canada has a level 3 advisory, which urges avoidance of non-essential travel, for all countries.

Manulife, as well as some other insurers, said in March they would stop covering trip cancellations or interruptions related to the pandemic as the disease was deemed a “known event.”

Manulife’s Canadian core earnings in the three months through March declined primarily due to higher travel insurance claims at the start of the pandemic.

Manulife shares are down 27% this year, versus a 3.6% decline in the Toronto stock benchmark .GSPTSE.

Manulife joins smaller rivals, including Medipac Travel Insurance and the Ontario and Quebec plans of the Canadian Association of Blue Cross, which began offering medical travel insurance including COVID-19 coverage in July. Neither offers pandemic-related trip interruption coverage.

Manulife’s policy has a C$5 million ($3.79 million) non-COVID-19 emergency medical coverage limit, and a COVID-19 limit of C$200,000.

It will also cover daily quarantine-related expenses of C$150 per person or C$300 per family for up to 14 days, Manulife said.

If a level 3 advisory is upgraded to level 4, Manulife said it will pay a combined C$500 per person for return airfare, meals and accommodation.

($1 = 1.3180 Canadian dollars)

Reporting By Nichola Saminather; Editing by Sam Holmes and Nick Zieminski

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