What’s Happening at The Travel Store These Days?
We are often asked about what we’re doing during these days of limited travel.
We’ve been surprisingly busy! From launching a new website and newsletter, and increasing our social media presence, to researching and planning exclusive Travel Store group trips, and taking advantage of training opportunities, there is certainly lots to do. There’s no question that travel is slow at this time but we do get requests for flight bookings especially within Canada, and a surprising number of clients are eager to make bookings for future travel. Whether it is to use Future Travel Credits from trips cancelled due to COVID restrictions, or to take advantage of some of the early booking incentives being offered, there are many who are interested in making their plans for getaways in 2021 and 2022.
Most importantly however we are working hard to assist hundreds of clients with travel insurance and other claims that have arisen due to the pandemic. Your concerns are important to us and we are trying very hard to help everyone navigate the complexities of cancellations, future travel credits, insurance claims, re-bookings, and more. Our travel advisors are regularly checking in to monitor what is happening with all insurance claims
When should you hear about your travel insurance?
We know that this is a lengthy, complicated, and evolving process, and hope that it might be useful for us to try to offer some perspective as an update on what is happening from our understanding. Here is what we know at this point:
- We are being told by Manulife that they have received over 40,000 claims for travel insurance related to COVID-19. This is more than they normally process in an entire year. We are in frequent conversations with Manulife to continue to urge them to expedite the claims so that our clients will have the answers they need.
- Probably the most frequent question we hear from clients is why is it taking so long for answers about claims and how much longer will it take? Again, due to the volume of claims we are being told by Manulife that it will take 90-120 days from the date of the claim being initiated to receive a response. If this response is not satisfactory and the client wishes to initiate an appeal, the 90-120 day timeframe starts again. We hear from time to time that claims are taking longer to process and we continue to pursue answers with Manulife and press for quicker action.
- We are finding that the response to many claims is that if a future travel credit (FTC) has been offered by a tour company then Manulife considers there to be no insurable loss, based on a decision of the Canadian Transportation Agency in late March that FTCs were an acceptable reimbursement for cancelled travel. If this happens to you, you can either choose to accept the FTC, or we will assist you with making an appeal. We can’t guarantee what the result will be but we are willing to try.
- Many of our clients have found Future Travel Credits to be an excellent option, as they are still eager to take those planned vacations. Their thinking is that although some time will have passed, they had invested in a vacation and are happy to have this vacation “banked” for use at another time – and most feel that they will really need a holiday! We fully recognize though that travel at a later date is not ideal for everyone, and we will work with clients to continue to help facilitate the appeal process.
- The good news is that for trips booked with insurance and where future travel credits have been accepted, the insurance originally purchased will still apply when you take your trip – no need to buy another insurance policy to protect you at that time. This protects from any price increases for insurance. Some clients have found this to be an appealing benefit and have decided that this is a good reason to accept the vouchers for future travel, as it offers very valuable protection for health and other travel emergencies.
- We understand how frustrating and confusing this process can be for you – we too are navigating an unprecedented situation. The only thing we can promise to you is that we will do our best to help you. . And, if you prefer to navigate this process on your own that’s ok too. We are happy to help behind the scenes as needed. If you would like to check the status of your claim, here is the website: https://manulife.acmtravel.ca/ You will be asked to enter your claim number and last name. We also recommend that you download the app so that you can easily check the status of your claim. If you would like to call, the toll-free number is 1-877-251-5108.
Every day we hear from people that they can’t wait to travel again!
Research is showing that as a result of the pandemic more people plan to look to professional travel advisors when booking future trips. They feel that travel advisors offer a high level of knowledge and are well placed to provide the latest advisory information, helping to increase confidence. As professional travel advisors we are here to offer advice on current travel restrictions, perspective on what to expect in the coming months, expertise on what you need to know to travel sensibly and safely, and professional planning services for trips that require a long planning period.
Our offices remain closed to the public and most of us do our work from home. We are still happy to serve our clients, though! We are happy to converse with you by phone or email, or by appointment in person. Please feel free to reach out to us to set a time to meet! All contact information can be found on our website www.thetravelstore.ca
We look forward to the day when we can welcome you back to our offices, to sit and reminisce about your past vacation highlights, and to help you look at new and exciting places to explore. It can’t come soon enough for us! In the meantime, though we encourage you to help us support local businesses, stay safe and healthy by wearing masks and practicing good hand hygiene, and look after each other. And when you have time, take a little armchair trip on our website. There’s lots to dream about there, and we look forward to helping you make those dreams come true!