There is no doubt that Manulife's COVID-19 Pandemic Travel Plan is great news for the industry. Some may even see it as a turning point in the current crisis!
However, the cruise industry cannot take advantage of this important step forward for the time being.
Indeed, Manulife's new product specifically excludes cruises due to the Government of Canada warning level currently associated with them.
Until further notice, let us remember, the government is asking to avoid all cruise travel outside of Canada - which is an official level 4 warning. For other types of travel, the general warning does not is to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada - which is level 3.
Notice level 3 or less
However, the Manulife COVID-19 Pandemic Travel Insurance Plan only covers travel associated with a level 3 or less notification.
In fact, if the warning level is (or becomes) below 3, Manulife's new product is not even necessary: the insurer's regular products normally cover trips associated with a level 2 advisory (use extreme caution ) or level 1 (take normal safety precautions).
And if… ?
What if the Government of Canada changed the cruise warning from Level 4 to Level 3? Would Manulife's COVID-19 coverage then apply?
In response to this question from PAX, Manulife indicated that in the event of such a government decision, the cruises would not automatically be eligible.
The insurer explains that it would take the time to assess the situation that would then prevail, before making known its decision to include - or continue to exclude - cruises from its new regime.