March 5, 2020 / 7:35 PM / a month ago

Canada's Manulife says trip insurance won't cover related coronavirus cancellations

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian insurer Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO) said on Thursday it will not cover trip cancellations or interruptions related to the novel coronavirus outbreak, after determining that the fast-spreading disease is a “known event.”

Manulife, Canada’s biggest insurer, joins closely held TuGo in explicitly declining to cover coronavirus-related trip cancellations. Others, such as Desjardins Insurance and Orion Travel Insurance, have stated that cancellations to destinations subject to Canadian travel warnings may not be covered.

Canada currently has coronavirus-related active travel health notices for China, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, Northern Italy, Singapore and South Korea, and advisories to avoid all or non-essential travel to China and Iran.

Travel insurance generally only covers cancellations for unforeseen events.

Manulife’s change does not apply to customers who bought travel insurance policies prior to Thursday, a spokesman said.

Policies that include “Cancel for Any Reason” insurance may also still offer coverage, depending on the terms, even after Thursday, he said.

Richmond, British Columbia-based TuGo has a notice on its website saying it will not provide coverage for coronavirus-related trip cancellations or interruption for policies purchased on or after Wednesday, as it is considered “a circumstance known.”

Desjardins Insurance says on its website that if an active travel health notice is in effect for the destination country, it is considered a known risk and is not covered.

Orion, owned by the Canadian Automobile Association, will not make specific exclusions for trip cancellations related to coronavirus, but journeys booked after the Canadian government issued advisories to avoid all or non-essential travel will not be covered, it said in a statement.

Reporting By Nichola Saminather; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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