Will travel insurance save you in the event of a strike at WestJet? It depends [Boss Insurance]

Will Travel Insurance Save You In The Event Of A Strike At Westjet?  It Depends
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WestJet began canceling flights as talks with the pilots’ union remained at a “critical impasse”, the company said in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, May 18, 2023.Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

As WestJet begins canceling flights ahead of a possible pilot strike on Friday morning, not all travel insurers will be covering travelers equally.

A document from Manulife says passengers flying with WestJet will only be eligible for trip cancellation or interruption coverage if they purchased their policy before April 18, when WestJet pilots voted in favor of a strike mandate.

The document sent to insurance brokers says Manulife considers the strike a “known event,” for which insurers will no longer provide coverage from that date.

Explained: how WestJet’s pilot strike notice could affect your travel plans

However, the known event date differs sharply from insurers such as Allianz and Tugo, which said in documents that the strike became a known event on May 15, when pilots issued 72-hour strike notice. .

Will McAleer, executive director of the Travel Insurance Association of Canada, said insurers can sometimes vary the date something becomes a known event, but the amount Manulife differs from some other insurers is more important than d ‘habit.

“The date may vary from insurer to insurer, but I wouldn’t expect it to be that significant,” McAleer said. “That would seem to be a bit long, I would wonder on what basis they are basing this date.”

Manulife did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Martin Firestone, president of Toronto-based insurance brokerage Travel Secure, also said it was unusual for Manulife to choose to call the strike a known event from April 18, when a strike seemed less likely.

“I’m surprised they’re calling this a known event when it wasn’t even close to being a reality,” said Mr Firestone, who said travelers would expect the strike to become an event known only when a strike notice is issued. .

Those eligible for an insurance claim would use trip cancellation or interruption coverage, which can cover additional costs such as accommodation, food and alternative transportation if incurred as a result of a canceled or delayed flight. It can also cover travelers if the canceled flight affects other vacation plans, such as a cruise.

However, Mr Firestone warned that travelers cannot ‘double up’ when it comes to receiving compensation. This means that travelers will first have to seek compensation from their airline and then turn to their insurer to cover the additional costs that the airlines will not pay.

Mr Firestone said those likely to incur the most costs are travelers who are at their destination and trying to get home.

“The poor guys who are in another country or continent who have to go to Canada…they are going to incur huge expense in terms of hotel, food and hopefully not having to pay through the nose for the plane ticket,” Pierre told the fire.

Mr McAleer said there may be situations where other airlines step in and offer stranded travelers a way home in the event of a long strike. In this scenario, he expects travelers to face congested phone lines when dealing with insurers and airlines.

Meanwhile, Mr Firestone said he has seen sales soar by around 70% on some travel insurance products as travelers prepare for another chaotic summer of airlines facing staffing issues as they try to offer ambitious flight schedules.